In the weekly Patriots chat on ESPNBoston.com today, “DanMac” wrote in from Los Angeles (via Boston) and asked “Can you give any examples of veteran OLB types that the Pats might target? How about Chike Okeafor; UFA with Super Bowl experience as a starting OLB in the Cardinals' 3-4?”
At the time, I wrote that I needed more time to get a good list together. After using ESPN’s free-agent tracker as a guide (Insider content), the following thought came to the forefront: For the Patriots, it looks like Derrick Burgess would still be a top option.
The market could always shift as teams release players, which could change the picture as time evolves.
Burgess joins the likes of Greg Ellis, Chike Okeafor and Adalius Thomas as players who might be near the top of an emergency list of teams looking for depth in that area. Thomas obviously wouldn't be an option for New England.
Then there are more natural 4-3 defensive ends like Jevon Kearse, Leonard Little and Darren Howard.
Overall, it seems like any player currently on the market would be more of a depth signing than someone who could come in and realistically be expected to start.