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Free agency: Potential additions could help the Patriots

It’s not 100 percent certain how this offseason’s labor strife willaffect how free agency shakes out in the NFL. But that doesn’t affectthe Patriots’ needs one bit.

It’s not 100 percent certain how this offseason’s labor strife will affect how free agency shakes out in the NFL. But that doesn’t affect the Patriots’ needs one bit.



The NFL draft has come and gone. Though it was filled with pass rushers — ostensibly New England’s greatest need — the Pats passed on nearly all of them.



They took tackle Nate Solder in the first round, followed by a defensive back, two running backs and quarterback Ryan Mallet.



That leaves linebacker and wide receiver as trouble spots going into any free-agent season. Luckily, there’s talent out there.



Manny Lawson




Lawson has experience in the 3-4 scheme with San Francisco. A former first-round pick (2006) Lawson had some success with the 49ers, but never lived up to expectations. He’s regarded as underrated, and he’s solid in coverage.



Mark Herzlich




Does anyone have a bigger chip on his shoulder right now than Herzlich? The cancer survivor went undrafted out of BC, but he’ll absolutely find a team. You can’t question his heart and determination, that’s for sure, and he would cost next to nothing.



Keith Bullock




Bullock is past his prime, but he’s a veteran who would fit on the Patriots in a limited role at LB ... if he’ll take one.



Braylon Edwards



Since Randy Moss was traded, the Pats could use a deep threat — and Edwards is that. It would move Wes Welker back to the slot permanently.



Mike Sims-Walker



Sims-Walker has quietly scored 14 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He’s a 1A option if the Pats can’t grab Edwards.



Chad Ochocinco



Why not? He loves Bill Belichick. And surprisingly enough, the feeling seems mutual.

 
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