Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com discusses Brandon Lloyd's future with the Patriots in his recent online chat. The team has until March 16th to exercise Lloyd's $3 million option bonus. "I think what's unfortunate is that the picture being painted is that Lloyd's bonus might not be picked up because of behind-the-scenes/locker room issues," writes Reiss. "I look at the situation differently. I think it's more economics relative to production."
Christopher Price of WEEI.com takes a look at some of the Patriots looming contractual questions. One current free agent -- who hasn't been garnering as much attention as Wes Welker, Sebastian Vollmer and Aqib Talib -- is Danny Woodhead. "He could probably command a slight raise, but don't expect the Patriots to overpay for Woodhead," writes Price. The contract situations of other Patriots, including Devin McCourty, Brandon Spikes, and Rob Ninkovich, are also analyzed.
James Walker of ESPN.com believes the Patriots are comfortable with keeping Ryan Mallett as the backup quarterback heading into the 2013 season. "The Patriots are fine with this pair going into the season," writes Walker. "It's possible that other teams may show interest in Mallett this offseason. But the Patriots won't consider trading their backup unless another team really blows their doors off with an offer."
Don Banks of SI.com thinks it's "likely" that both Wes Welker and Aqib Talib resign with the Patriots this offseason. He adds that the team could use a defensive tackle with pass rush skills, and this is something that could be addressed in the draft. "Identifying that deep threat in the receiving game, and trying again to find reliable help in the secondary (maybe a free agent push for Baltimore's Ed Reed?) are other obvious areas to give attention to," adds Banks. "If the Pats can draft a talented interior defensive lineman in the first or second round, and add a veteran pass rusher like [Dwight] Freeney in free agency, the defensive front seven should take another step forward this season."
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports that several rival GMs expect the Patriots to make a strong push for a tall, speedy outside receiver in free agency. "Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace has been suggested as a likely target by some in the know, and, even though New England went after a deep threat last year in Brandon Lloyd, that didn't work out so well," writes La Canfora. "Lloyd came cheaply enough and Wallace, though coming off a shaky year, has blazing speed and is just entering his prime."