The NFL Network's Adam Schefter reported late Monday that the New England Patriots are one of the teams interested in free agent cornerback Tory James. New England is involved in talks to acquire the 12-year veteran defender to build depth on their roster according to the report.
James' agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed Monday night that his client has indeed had contact with the Patriots, but they're not the only team pursuing the veteran. "We've had a number of conversations with [the Patriots]," Bartelstein said. "A number of teams have expressed interest in Tory."
New England is faced with two more potential losses to their secondary as restricted free agent Randall Gay is visiting the New York Jets and may sign a contract offer. Their top corner, Asante Samuel, has threatened holding out for most of the season unless he gets a new deal or gets traded.
The Patriots still have three corners who have experience playing the position in Ellis Hobbs, Chad Scott and Eugene Wilson in case they need to be pressed back into service. Wilson and Scott have spent most of their time playing safety for the Patriots recently, while Hobbs has been the starter opposite Samuels.
Adding James to the Patriots' cornerback mix would help address part of the need to build depth at the position in 2007. In order to do that, they would have to land James and potentially draft another.
The competition for acquiring James has picked up. Three other teams have expressed interest in James according to Bartelstein. “The Raiders, Packers and Saints have all shown interest,” Bartelstein said. “We expect to have [a deal] done by the end of the week, but nothing is imminent.”
James has played 12 seasons in the NFL at corner. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound corner has played for the Denver Broncos (1996-99), Oakland Raiders (2000-2002) and the Bengals (2003-06).
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