Patriots-based links around Web

March, 12, 2013
3/12/13
2:15
PM ET
A few Patriots-based links, accompanied with opinion and analysis, from around the Web:

1. High-ranking front office. Don Banks of SI.com ranks his top front offices in the NFL, and he puts the Patriots at No. 4. "Bill Belichick's recent acquisition record has been well-criticized by many, and deservedly so when it comes to New England's issues in the secondary (see Darius Butler, Terrence Wheatley, Ras-I Dowling, Brandon Meriweather, etc...). But other than the shortcomings in the defensive backfield, the infusion of talent has not been insignificant," Banks writes. "... If the Pats can keep Wes Welker on board during free agency and find a deep-threat receiver for quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots will crank out another 11 to 13 wins in monotonous fashion and prop that Super Bowl window of opportunity wide open for at least 2013." Opinion: With the Ravens, Packers and Giants at 1, 2 and 3, hard to argue with this ranking.

2. Welker & offers from the Patriots. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network tweeted the following: "I said Wes Welker was waiting for the Patriots last offer. Received a correction: Actually their 1st offer." Opinion: This runs counter to what we've heard, which is that the Patriots have made an offer to Welker that is known to him to be on the table. The sides have to know where each other stands because this is a process that stretches back over the past year.

3. Following up on Raiders' Bryant. Last night, we passed along word about Raiders defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, whom Yahoo! Sports NFL columnist Jason Cole relayed had been a player that the Patriots expressed some level of interest. As a follow-up, which was first noted by the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian today, the Patriots don't look like they'll be in the mix for Bryant, a source confirms. Opinion: Things move fast in free agency and the Patriots have likely placed calls on a number of players, some of which help them assess the market. The market for Bryant likely reached a level in which the club wasn't planning to go.

4. Salary cap space update. In providing the Bills' salary cap space, Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News notes the Patriots, as of a few days ago, have the eighth-most space of any team in the NFL ($26.4 million). Opinion: Cap space is fluid, but this puts the Patriots in position to be competitive for free agents they want to retain.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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