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Quick Kicks: First half-day of free agency - a Patriots-related recap

Since 4 p.m. Tuesday, it's been a mad dash by NFL teams for the top free agent talent on the market... and the Patriots have been involved!


Well, sort of.

The club reportedly re-signed special teams captain Matthew Slater and depth LB Niko Koutouvides. Both are great locker room presences and valuable, role-playing contributors on the field. Neither, however addresses a major need for New England.

Meanwhile... let's take stock of what other teams have done, particularly with regard to players that may have been (or at least should have been) targeted by the Patriots.

At wide receiver, Vincent Jackson inked a 5-year deal with Tampa Bay (worth reportedly $55.55 million, $26 mil of which is guaranteed). Robert Meachem took Jackson's place in San Diego, to the tune of 4 years, nearly $26 million. His former Saints teammate, Marques Colston, stayed put in New Orleans. Likewise, Reggie Wayne decided to re-up with the Colts for three years, according to several reports, while his former Colt teammate, Pierre Garcon, announced via his Facebook page that he's going to Washington. Even Brandon Lloyd, who has been pining for the Patriots all off-season, is planning a visit to San Francisco, one of the many teams for whom he was once employed.

Suddenly, that deep WR market appears to be evaporating fast.

On defense, big man Mario Williams is supposedly signing with Buffalo... or visiting other teams, depending on which Twitter reports you care to believe. And cornerback Cortland Finnegan is going to the Rams for 5 years, $50 million.

On the bright side, maybe this is an indication that the Patriots will use both of their first-round picks in next month's NFL Draft. Have to cling to some hope, right???

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