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Monday, March 18, 2013
Wilson & the quest for 30-30

By Mike Reiss

PHOENIX -- A few thoughts and observations from the NFL annual meeting at the Arizona Biltmore:

30-30 has meaning to Wilson. We've made the connection between the Patriots' signing of veteran safety Adrian Wilson on Friday and the team's signing of Rodney Harrison back in 2003. Both are tough safeties, and both played a long time for one team based out west before joining the Patriots. Here's another connection: Just as Harrison became the NFL's first player to achieve  30-30 status -- with 30 interceptions and 30 sacks -- Wilson is on the cusp of doing the same (27 interceptions, 25.5 sacks). In addition to playing for a contender, the quest for 30-30 has meaning to the 33-year-old Wilson. While there were initial reports that Wilson hoped to play for a contender out west after being released by the Cardinals, what apparently clinched his decision to join the Patriots was a conversation with Bill Belichick at the start of free agency. Belichick's track record of putting players in position to succeed, especially those closer to the end of their careers, is well documented.

Not anticipating anything big from the Patriots. The general sense I get is that the Patriots' big-money movement in free agency is over. The next significant domino to fall is right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, and until that situation is resolved, my feeling is that the Patriots wouldn't want to commit significant salary cap space elsewhere if it meant closing the door on Vollmer. So if this read is correct, we're in a little bit of a holding pattern right now.

Follow-up on Abraham & Freeney. The Patriots had both John Abraham and Dwight Freeney in for free-agent visits on Friday, and in speaking with coaches and GM types here, their read on both players is that they fit best as part-time pass-rushers. So what is the value for a player in that role in the present marketplace? Abraham and Freeney, as well as the teams interested in them, are still trying to figure out the answer to that question.

Keeping tabs on Emmanuel Sanders. Caught up briefly with Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert this morning, and when asked how he thinks might unfold with restricted free agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders, he said that he hasn't received any word of an offer sheet from another team. The Patriots, of course, visited with Sanders on Friday.