After eleven seasons and two championships, Rob Ninkovich officially announced his retirement from the NFL yesterday. Nink just turned 33 in February and only had one year left on his contract, so it makes sense that he decided to hang up the cleats.
With or without him on the roster, the Patriots lack pass rushers. Not having Ninkovich only makes that need even more glaring. Here are two names they could potentially add to help bolster their pass rush:
Dwight Freeney (122.5 career sacks)
Out of all the options currently available via free agency, Freeney would make the most sense for the Patriots to sign. For starters, they are very familiar with his play after going up against him a ton during his time in Indianapolis. Most recently they saw him in the Super Bowl last year, where he only finished with one sack but was in Brady’s face for most of the night. The Pats also had him in for a visit a few years back, but he ended up signing with the Chargers. He is 37, so would he have enough left in the tank to make one last run at another Super Bowl? We’ll have to wait to see. He has also been linked to the Broncos, which is another team that wouldn’t surprise me by signing him.
Mario Williams (97.5 career sacks)
He isn’t the pass rusher he once was with the Texans, but adding Mario Williams wouldn’t hurt the Patriots at all. He has been bouncing around the AFC East for the past few seasons (Bills, Dolphins), so the Patriots are certainly familiar with him. The Patriots have been linked to Williams plenty of times before in the past so this move wouldn’t surprise me. In his 10 year career, he has racked up 97.5 sacks, landing him in four Pro Bowls and a First-team All-Pro selection in 2014.
Written By: Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)