Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com believes that Patrick Chung's playing days in New England could be over. "The Patriots have Devin McCourty as a starter at one safety and both Steve Gregory and Tavon Wilson to compete for the other spot," writes Yates. "For Chung, he still offers value to a team in the right situation, perhaps as a starter." Chung, a free agent, started 8 games for the Patriots last season and recorded 44 tackles and two interceptions.
Greg A. Bedard of The Boston Globe reports that it's not a matter of if -- but when -- Wes Welker signs back with the Patriots. However, Bedard believes there is some concern in the Welker camp that the Patriots could go back to undervaluing the All-Pro wide receiver. "But the overwhelming sentiment, from sources on both sides of the Welker situation, is he will be back with the Patriots," he adds. "It's not a matter of if, but when. What you are seeing now is part of the process."
Shalise Manza Young of The Boston Globe reports that Patriots OL Donald Thomas is expected to test the free agency market, according to a league source. "His performance likely has teams looking at him as a starter, and thus he'll garner starter's money," writes Manza Young. "New England has a good amount of money tied up in Mankins and Dan Connolly, and if Thomas would continue to be a backup with the team the Patriots would want to pay him that way." The New Haven, Conn. native played in all 16 games for the Patriots last season, including seven starts.
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com believes that the Cleveland Browns are the "one wild card" as a potential trade partner for Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. "First-year Browns vice president of player personnel Michael Lombardi was high on Mallett coming out of the 2011 draft, and that's one potential landing spot where the lack of recent quality NFL tape might not be a big factor," adds Reiss. "Then the Patriots could angle for a conditional draft choice based on Mallett's playing time and/or production."
Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com projects that another NFL team will offer free agent Kyle Arrington an offer too good to refuse, and that the 26-year-old cornerback will not re-sign with the Patriots. "For the Patriots, cornerback is a major area of need this offseason, although Talib is likely a higher priority to re-sign than Arrington. If the team views him as a starting slot cornerback with special-teams value on the core groups rather than a base defense starter, Arrington may take more money if it presents itself elsewhere."