Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com gives some insight on Patriots tight end Jake Ballard while answering questions in his latest fan mailbag. "The Patriots plan to keep Ballard and have him compete at a crowded tight end position. I think they are high on his potential contributions, if he is healthy," writes Reiss. Ballard, who was claimed off waivers from the New York Giants last June, missed all of the 2012 season after suffering a knee injury in Super Bowl XLVI.
Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald reports that Patriots running back Jeff Demps is unsure about his future with the team. "Daniel Rose, who is Demps' agent, just told me the Patriots haven't returned any of his messages for three weeks," writes Howe. "Demps informed the team last month that he would pursue a two-sport career, as his love for track and field still has a prominent place among his lifelong goals."
Erik Frenz of The Boston Globe takes a look at the under-the-radar free agents that could fill out the remaining holes in New England's roster. Frenz points out CB Nate Clements, DE Israel Idonije, DT Sedrick Ellis, WR Brandon Lloyd, and G Brandon Moore as potential options for the Patriots. While the Patriots have shown interest in pass rushers such as John Abraham and Dwight Freeney, Frenz notes that Idonije could be a good fit. "Idonije is a more effective edge rusher than interior, but could provide a push at either spot in a pinch. He logged 10 total pressures (2 sacks, 2 hits, 6 hurries) in 125 pass-rushes at defensive tackle, and 41 pressures (7 sacks, 3 hits, 31 hurries) in 328 rushes as a defensive end. He ranked ninth in pass-rushing productivity among 4-3 defensive ends."
Christopher Price of WEEI.com notes that the NFL's 2013 regular season schedule will be unveiled on April 16 at 8 p.m. during a special on NFL Network. The list of the Patriots' 2013 opponents can be viewed here, while the game times and dates will be announced during the schedule release show.
Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com gives his take on the Patriots' free agency moves to-date. During his assessment, Curran also looks at potential moves to come. "Defensive ends John Abraham and Dwight Freeney have spun through town and left without contracts. Both are still out there. If there's no upgrade made, the Patriots may return Trevor Scott for another season," writes Curran.
"Meanwhile, Steelers wideout Emmanuel Sanders, a restricted free agent, visited but didn't sign an offer sheet with the Patriots. If the Patriots can dangle a deal Sanders jumps at, the Steelers can either match the Patriots' offer of accept a third-round pick from the Pats as compensation. Adding Sanders would partially address the Lloyd departure. Former Chiefs and Patriots personnel man Scott Pioli told me that getting Sanders would be a major coup."