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Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Insider: Patriots get B-plus in free agency

By Mike Reiss

ORLANDO, Fla. -- ESPN NFL Insider columnist Mike Sando, with the help of his Insider team, handed out grades to all 32 teams for their free-agent moves Insider.

The Patriots tied for the second-highest mark, a B-plus, along with the Cardinals and Broncos.

Sando, who is as thorough as they come, details his thinking with a focus on the cornerback swap of Darrelle Revis for Aqib Talib. He also forecasts the possibility of running back LeGarrette Blount's return.

In previewing Sando's piece, it had me thinking back to a mistake I personally made at this time last year.

After the Patriots had signed veteran safety Adrian Wilson in free agency, there was a lot of chatter in this space about how Wilson could potentially bring a Rodney Harrison-type element to the secondary. I asked Bill Belichick a question along those lines last year, and he said respectfully, "That's a pretty high comparison. I'm not saying [Wilson] is or isn't, but you're talking about a great player."

Looking back, that was a media-based false start.

Whenever a player comes into a new system, there is always an element of the unknown, and that's why I think Belichick was predictably understated when talking about cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, and receiver Brandon LaFell on Tuesday morning.

His answer on all three players was similar, "We'll see how it all comes together."

We will, and it will be fun to look back on the grades and see how they all match up.