Thomas Is The Man
The biggest impact of the off-season for the Patriots happened in the early afternoon today when the a deal was finalized between New England and highly coveted free agent Adalius Thomas. Thomas, 29, is a product of the Ravens 3-4 defense, and deemed a perfect fit for the Patriots. The 6-foot-2, 270-pound playmaker from Baltimore was the subject of intense pursuit by the AFC East champions who wanted to land an impact player for their defense. They got what they were looking for in Thomas.
Much to his delight in having one of the top free agents join New England's experienced group of linebackers, head coach Bill Belichick complimented Thomas' overall versatility.
"Personally and professionally, we are very impressed with Adalius Thomas," said Belichick. "His playmaking, toughness, intelligence, versatility and character were all factors in our decision to pursue him. Adalius has contributed in many ways to some excellent defensive units and we look forward to getting to work with him."
Kyle Brady Adds Beef
The deal for free agent tight end Kyle Brady was also announced to the media Saturday afternoon. The 12-year veteran was acquired to replace Daniel Graham who left via free agency. Although Graham hadn't signed a deal as of Saturday, Scout.com reported his return as "highly unlikely". Brady, 35, is well known for being a solid blocker, something the Patriots will need to replace Graham who was well know for being one of the best blocking tight ends in the league.
Head coach Bill Belichick commented on Brady's background and ability to fit in on the team. "Kyle Brady is a tough, smart and dependable player," Belichick said. "His familiarity with our system and his consistency make him a good fit for our offense. We are excited to add him to our tight end group."
The Penn State product was originally drafted by the New York Jets in the first round (ninth overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft.
Morris, 29, was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Scout.com's Adam Caplan reported the signing earlier in the day.
Belichick lauded Morris' versatility as keys to why the Patriots pursued him. "Sammy Morris is a good all-around running back," Belichick commented. "From his years in the division, we have first-hand knowledge of all his skills; running, receiving, blocking and several roles on special teams."
Welker In The Mix
With Morris in the fold, the Patriots are expected to turn their attention toward defensive backs and receivers. Early reports have surfaced that the Patriots are interested in Miami Dolphins receiver Wes Welker. Welker, a restricted free agent, was tendered at the $1.3 million level meaning any team signing him would have to forfeit a second round draft pick should the Dolphins elect not to match.
Adam Schefter of the NFL Network reported that the Patriots were planning on offering Welker a seven-year deal worth $38.5 million. If the Dolphins elect not to match, the Patriots will have addressed 3 of their top 4 off-season needs LB, RB and WR in the opening weekend of free agency and can focus on building additional depth via the NFL Draft in April. The Patriots other top need at this point is DB.