When the news broke that Vince Wilfork had requested a release I have to admit I was genuinely surprised, but when he was still on the roster several days after his request I began to think Wilfork was just looking for leverage. Sure enough the news broke earlier this week that the New England Patriots have worked out a deal with Wilfork for the next three seasons. Now the question remains, What will the Patriots offseason Focus be now that Wilfork has been re-signed and the DT position is generally set.
- Look For A Gem On The O-line - Any and every Patriot fan knows that Bill Belichick is all about value. The New England Patriots announced recently that they re-signed Ryan Wendell, but the team needs to look for upgrades at center and right guard after atrocious seasons by Wendell and Connolly. Look for Belichick to grab an old vet or unproven middle aged lineman off the scrap heap and attempt to mold him into a starter or solid backup.
- Pick Up a Tight End In The Draft - With Rob Gronkowski injured as usual and very little quality tight ends in free agency the Patriots will need to draft a tight end this offseason. Whether it is Austin Seferian-Jenkins/Jace Amaro in the first round, Troy Niklas in the second round, or one of the many tight ends in the later rounds, the New England Patriots will not go into next season with Michael Hoomanawanui starting.
- Add Another Body At Linebacker - The starting linebacker group looks to be set, but Dane Fletcher and Brandon Spikes are gone leaving 2 open spots on the roster (assuming Steve Beauharnais doesn't take one). The Patriots will likely pick up another MLB as an undrafted free agent, but with options still available in free agency the team should continue to add athleticism at LB
- Veteran Depth - I can't explain how many times last season I heard local fans raving about players like Austin Collie or Dane Fletcher only to never see any significant play from that player again. Players like Fletcher and Collie are depth players or "role" players if you will. The New England Patriots have already made their splash in free agency this offseason and likely won't be handing out any more big contracts. They will however look for one or two more depth signings before the Draft, and these players, like a Fletcher/Collie, can impact one or two games a season and make a big difference.
- The Elusive Hard Hitter - If the Patriots can figure out the four spots prior to this they should officially start looking for an intimidator over the middle. Yes the team hasn't been able to find one since Rodney Harrison, and yes their are bigger concerns, but if the Patriots can sure up the more important areas of the roster they can look for that hothead safety in the draft or free agency to provide toughness to a finesse secondary.
The Patriots organization will be working nonstop up until and through the upcoming season, but one thing is for certain, this season is sure to be one of the most hyped since Randy Moss arrived.