Greg A. Bedard of The Boston Globe doubts that Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard will face a league-imposed suspension following his conviction of third-degree felony assault on a police officer. "As far as Dennard being suspended by the NFL under the personal conduct policy, that is unlikely considering that the incident happened before Dennard was an NFL player, so he was not covered by the collective bargaining agreement," writes Bedard. It's possible that Dennard only receives probation when his sentencing occurs on April 11, but Bedard believes the Patriots can't afford to bank on that scenario. "Of course, I don't think the Patriots can bank on just probation so they need to start making plans that Dennard won't be in the fold (tagging Aqib Talib, signing Charles Woodson to play free safety and moving Devin McCourty back to the corner would be one set of possibilities)."
Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald thinks the Patriots may be forced to use the franchise tag on cornerback Aqib Talib now that the status of Alfonzo Dennard has become murky. She writes that the $10.6 million tag appears to be a necessity in order to keep the secondary afloat. "So the Pats must tag Talib as a stopgap measure," Guregian explains. "And that's just the beginning of the dominoes sure to tumble in wake of the Dennard verdict and future sentencing." Safeties Ed Reed and Charles Woodson are also mentioned as options in free agency if the Patriots plan to move Devin McCourty back to the cornerback position.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com believes that the biggest 'position to watch' for the Patriots in the 2013 NFL Draft will be wide receiver. "In my opinion, the Patriots will be drafting a wideout, making that position fun to watch at the combine for Pats fans," adds Harrison. He also notes that the team could look at a defensive back in the first round. "Some mock drafts have New England drafting a safety, and considering that Bill Belichick and Co. are picking 29th -- generally a beautiful spot to acquire a quality safety -- I would agree with that projection ... in theory. Yet, I see New England as more likely to go with a corner. Keep an eye on Oregon State's Jordan Poyer or Washington's Desmond Trufant."
Mike Chappell of USA TODAY writes that former Colts edge rusher Dwight Freeney could be eyeing a potential new home in the Northeast. In an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio on Wednesday, Freeney discussed playing for the New England Patriots. "A lot of my friends have brought that up...that's a great organization over there, they have won a lot of games, have a lot of great players," Freeney said. "I would be honored to play for anybody, especially that type of organization." The 33-year-old veteran said he'll be looking to play for a Super Bowl contender next season. "I played 11 years and I want to continue to win. I can't see myself going to a non-winner."
Nick Underhill of MassLive.com reports that former Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel had some words for impending free agent Wes Welker during a FOX Sports Radio interview yesterday. "So here's my advice to you, Welker: You better chase the money, brother." Samuel left the Patriots in 2008 to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles.