Free agency seems like it has started to die down, and the majority of signings have been made. Most of the players with expiring contracts for the Pats have either made their move, or decided to stay put. The NFL draft is so close, so here’s a look at the Players who have left the Patriots for new homes and need to be replaced.
Malcolm Butler – CB – Tennessee Titans: It was in the writing on the wall that Butler was leaving the Pats, but I think the move was a surprise as to where he landed. Teams like the Raiders and Saints had showed interest in him last offseason, and at one point it seemed like Matt Patricia wanted him to join him in Detroit. However, Mike Vrabel scooped him up. He will be reunited with his counterpart at corner in Logan Ryan, and seems like he is a great fit to make an impact on that defense. Some people might be mad, but for the guy who was cooking fried chicken at Popeye’s 5 years ago, and now has a contract worth 61 million dollars. Good for you Malcolm.
Nate Solder – OT – New York Giants: This one stung. It looks like Marcus Cannon is going to protect Brady’s backside. But he found himself a new home in New York, and got a bigger contract than he would have in New England. The Giants had one of the worst offensive lines in football the past 2-3 years, so it was definitely a positive addition for them, even though Solder is on the opposite side of 30.
Dion Lewis – RB – Tennessee Titans: Joining Malcolm in Tennessee, Lewis also found himself a very solid contract. After a phenomenal second half of the season, Lewis will most likely see a reduced role with the Titans. Derrick Henry is their up and coming back, and they are almost polar opposites. Henry is 6’3″ 250lbs. Dion Lewis is 5’8″ 195 lbs. The Titans did not draft Henry to be a role player, so he will look to be the feature back next season. Lewis will play the pass catching back role on this team, and will be a very solid backup option should something happen to Henry.
Danny Amendola – WR – Miami Dolphins: Poor Danny, it seems like everything has gone downhill for him aside from his income. His supermodel girlfriend broke up with him, he left a great team and his best friend in New England, and now he has to play against them, and for the Dolphins. But with 8.5 million guaranteed over 2 years, with the possibility of 12, the Pats were not going to touch that. After having him take pay cuts over the last 3 years due to being prone to injury, they would not bring him back at that amount. The things you did in the playoffs were amazing Danny, but it has come to its end.
Cameron Fleming – OT – Dallas Cowboys: I never even heard this news, but Cam Fleming is a Dallas Cowboy. Fleming was decent in relief of the injured Marcus Cannon last year, and the fact that he is now joining the best offensive line in football says something. I don’t believe he is going to start there, but he clearly has something that interests them, and the Pats might have missed out on what could have ended up being Solder’s replacement.
Johnson Bademosi – DB – Houston Texans: Another under the radar departure, Bademosi joins a greatly improved secondary in Houston. After adding Tyrann Mathieu and Aaron Colvin, the Texans made strides in what was one of their weak links last season. Bademosi will most likely be their top special teamer, which is his specialty.
Martellus Bennett – TE – Retired: To no surprise Martellus decided to retire. After what happened with his brother, it is probably for the best that they stay out of the limelight. He had hinted at retirement before leaving Green Bay last season, and now followed through with it.
Some of these players have been replaced via free agency, some are not so easy to replace. The legacy and clutch plays a few have left behind cannot be replaced, but the Pats will look to do the best they can in the draft.
-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)