- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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With various top free agent lists starting to surface, let's narrow things down to the Patriots with a snapshot look at the team's free agents:
1. CB Aqib Talib -- Difference-maker when healthy and added a different dynamic to the cornerbacks room since November of 2012. A top priority for the team.
2. WR Julian Edelman -- Deserves everything coming to him after a terrific 2013 season. Patriots would obviously like him back, but if another team ups the bidding, he's probably gone.
3. RB LeGarrette Blount -- Mutual interest in his return. A player who seemingly has more value to the Patriots than most others, which makes us think it's a greater likelihood he's back.
4. LB Brandon Spikes -- The way 2013 ended makes it unlikely he returns.
5. C Ryan Wendell -- A scrappy heady performer, Wendell maximizes his talents. I don't evision the Patriots extending their budget to ensure his return, but if a market doesn't develop for him, he'd surely be welcome back in a situation where there might be top competition for the No. 1 job.
6. TE Michael Hoomanawanui-- Played his role well in 2013. Would think he's back unless another team unexpectedly ups the ante.
7. LB Dane Fletcher -- One of the Patriots' best special teams players. Would think there is a competitive bid to retain him.
8. DE Andre Carter -- They don't get much better from a locker-room perspective, but we'd be surprised if the team makes his return a priority at this point.
9. TE Matthew Mulligan -- More of a blocking presence, he filled his role well in 2013. Although the Patriots will probably look to add to the position, it wouldn't be a surprise if Mulligan competes for a roster spot again.
10. WR Austin Collie -- Veteran was dependable and should warrant serious consideration to re-sign.