"The Patriots surely want McCourty to be part of their future; it seems to be more a matter of 'when' than 'if.' But with free agency beginning March 11 and with players such as cornerback
Zuri Berry of the Boston Globe writes that the Patriots franchise tag options are slim and unattractive.
"If any one of the Patriots’ top free agents is willing to return, negotiated contracts appear to be the best route for the team," writes Berry. "But if there is one player who could spur the Patriots to consider using the tag this year, after avoiding doing so last offseason, it’s Talib. He’s considered a game-changer, and with that kind of respect, particularly in the locker room and among his coaches, he could very well break the bank."
Jerry Spar of WEEI.com writes that National Football Post reporter Jason Cole appeared on the Mut & Merloni radio show Tuesday and reported that former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano is being advised not to take a coaching position with the Patriots.
"He’s got some agents and other coaches and people saying, ‘Look, if you go there, where are you going to get back on the head coach track? Because what credit are you going to get if the Patriots are good? Was it your genius that turned around the Patriots linebacking corps?’ That’s the problem that you have at this point in time with going to work for Belichick," said Cole.
Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated shares his post-combine mock draft. He sees the Patriots selecting Missouri DE/OLB Kony Ealy with the 29th overall pick.
"Not as high on Ealy as some others, but this is a Patriots prospect if I’ve ever seen one," writes Burke. "Ealy has desired size at 6-4 and a little more than 270, plus he excelled in the three-cone drill which is a favorite of this Patriots regime."
Joel Klatt of FOX Sports also shares his post-combine mock draft, with the Patriots selecting Minnesota DT Ra'Shede Hageman in the first round.
"NE has to get younger on the DL, and more depth is a must with the injuries they suffered last year," adds Klatt. "Hageman is big and athletic -- a perfect fit in New England."