Free agent DB Randall Gay is in New York visiting with the Jets today according to The Boston Globe. Gay is a restricted free agent is who was offered a tender at the mid (2nd round) level by the Patriots. If the Jets sign the LSU product to an offer sheet, the Patriots have the option of matching the contract, or letting Gay escape to a division rival for the price of a second round draft pick.
Gay is heading into his fourth year as a pro, and has been part of the Patriots' reserves the past two seasons. He was forced into the lineup as a starter his rookie season, but injuries have limited him the past two seasons to a backup role. He has experience at both safety and corner, something the Patriots like from their defensive backs.
If Gay departs, it would leave only Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs, Chad Scott and Eugene Wilson as players who have experience playing corner for New England. The Patriots also have Willie Andrews (a safety) and Antwain Spann (a special team player) as healthy bodies who might be able to help out. New England signed cornerback Eddie Jackson from the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent, but Jackson is returning from an injury and may not be ready to contribute right away.
Artrell Hawkins (a former corner) is still on the roster, and he could fill the role as reserve defensive back, but he hasn't played cornerback for years and is penciled in as a safety along with Wilson. Gemara Williams is another back still on the roster, but has not played for the Patriots and was on an injured reserve list last season.
|New England Patriots cornerback Randall Gay returns a fumble for a 41-yard touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Dec. 5, 2004. After Gay picked up the fumble he felt someone pulling on his jersey. It was Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest, trying to slow his teammate down so he can set up a block. That's the way things are going for New England these days: No one can stop them except for themselves. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)|
Not signing Gay would allow the Jets to weaken the Patriots secondary even further with the whole Asante Samuel contract dispute still in the air. It would also give the Patriots a second round pick, something they no longer possess after trading their away to the Dolphins for wide receiver Wes Welker last month.
According to the Globe report, Gay will remain in New York overnight possibly working out a deal the Patriots would not be inclined to match.
The Patriots originally signed Gay as an undrafted rookie free agent out of LSU in 2004.
Career Stats: Randall Gay