- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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With the free-agent market for defensive end Mark Anderson generating some momentum in recent days with trips to Miami, Tennessee, Baltimore and Buffalo, there has been some good Twitter chatter.
@patsfan122089 -- "Any clue why they're just letting him slip? Let alone to possibly the Bills?"
@AntonChigurh81 -- "Is him having so many visits a good thing for the Pats; that he doesn't have a deal yet?"
@TylerHaley -- "Do we all forget how awful Anderson was against the run last year? Didn't play significant snaps until Carter went down."
@7H0M50N -- "Are the Patriots gonna let him walk? I think he was a big asset for us last season."
@WivisRealTalk -- "Do Pats even want to keep him?"
Some thoughts from here:
1. The Patriots do want to keep Anderson, but they've set a value and won't move too far off it. The value is tied to Anderson not being a full-time player over the course of 2011 (47 percent of snaps), and their presumed belief that he isn't a full-time player. Anderson is obviously hoping for more, hence his visits.
2. The Bills might be able to offer him something more than the Patriots -- a starting role opposite Mario Williams. That's pretty appealing from this view.
3. In terms of the four visits, the main thing that stands out to me is that it speaks to the demand for pass rushers. I don't think it's good thing when it comes to the Patriots' chances to retain him.
4. I thought Anderson played better against the run than anticipated last year, but understand why there would be some doubts about his ability to do so with a more expanded role.
5. The Patriots signed Anderson to a 1-year, $1.375 million contract last year, which turned out to be good value. Those types of deals are often described here as low risk, high reward, but here is another point to consider: When the Patriots execute those contracts, the upside is limited (if the player performs well, the team is at risk of losing him the next year). So maybe it would be best described as low risk, moderate reward.