Patriots free-agent scorecard

March, 11, 2010
3/11/10
9:15
AM ET
When the new league year began March 5, the Patriots had nine players who were scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. They've re-signed five and lost one.

Outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, cornerback Leigh Bodden, running back Kevin Faulk, offensive lineman Stephen Neal and defensive lineman Vince Wilfork are in, while defensive lineman Jarvis Green (Broncos) is out.

As for who's left, here is the breakdown with a quick-hit thought:

Derrick Burgess -- Last year's trade for the veteran defensive end didn't produce the desired result. While it's possible he could still return on a minimum-type deal, a player like newly signed Marques Murrell figures to be given a chance to earn that third-down rushing type of role, with the added benefit of helping on special teams, which Burgess did not.

Chris Hanson -- The Patriots currently don't have a punter on their roster. If Hanson returns, it would likely be on a one-year, minimum-type deal where he could face competition. There aren't a lot of other options on the free-agent market and ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper said this is a year where there might not be a punter worthy of draft consideration.

Benjamin Watson -- The tight end remains on the open market and given the Patriots' need at the position, it wouldn't be shocking if the sides revisit contract talks. While a potential Watson return seemed like a longer shot last week, one wonders if the Patriots' need at the position -- coupled with the overall weak free agency class -- leads them back to Watson. Watson visited with the Seahawks on Monday and is scheduled to be in Cleveland today.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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