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Monday, February 14, 2011
Free-Agent Fit: Defensive line

By Mike Rodak

(Student assistant Mike Rodak continues an early position-by-position look at free agency with the Patriots. Because free-agency rules are unclear based on the uncertain collective bargaining agreement, the 2010 rules were used to compile the information. Teams may also restrict some of these players with the franchise tag.)

POSITION: Defensive line

RATING THE NEED: Moderate

CURRENT PERSONNEL: Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Mike Wright, Ron Brace, Myron Pryor, Kyle Love, Brandon Deaderick, Landon Cohen, Kade Weston, Darryl Richard, Marlon Favorite

KEY CONSIDERATION: Eight-year veteran Ty Warren is coming off a hip injury that wiped out his 2010 season. His production has dipped since receiving a large contract extension four seasons ago, so the team may be on the lookout for his eventual replacement.

NOTABLE TARGETS ON THE MARKET: Stephen Bowen (Cowboys), Damione Lewis (Texans), Wallace Gilberry (Chiefs; restricted), Shaun Ellis (Jets), Jacques Cesaire (Chargers), Paul Soliai (Dolphins), Ron Edwards (Chiefs), Aubrayo Franklin (49ers), Nick Eason (Steelers), Marcus Spears (Cowboys)

MOST LIKELY TARGET FOR PATS: Gerard Warren (Patriots)

SLEEPER POSSIBILITY FOR PATS: D. Lewis

OUTLANDISH THOUGHT FOR PATS: Haloti Ngata (Ravens), Richard Seymour (Raiders), Cullen Jenkins (Packers)

WRAP IT UP: Even with the depth concerns caused by injuries late in the season, the position remains relatively well-stocked heading into 2011.