NFL roster cuts: AFC | NFC

Patriots pull shocker with Jeff Demps

August, 17, 2012
8/17/12
1:46
PM ET

Do the reigning AFC champion New England Patriots need another dynamic threat on offense?

With Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski and young, exciting tailbacks Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen all at quarterback Tom Brady's disposal, the Patriots seemed like the last team that needed more speed offensively.

But the Patriots like to make a move when you least expect it. They surprisingly won the Jeff Demps sweepstakes and are expected to sign the Olympic silver medalist, according to ESPN’s John Clayton. Demps had interest from various teams -- including the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- but the allure of playing for a title contender in New England made a difference. Demps even turned down playing with former college teammate Tim Tebow with New England’s division rival.

It's easy to see why Demps would want to play for a winning program in New England. But why would the Patriots be interested in Demps?

New England already has a crowded backfield filled with young talent. Ridley and Vereen have a lot of potential, and Danny Woodhead is a solid third-down back. Where does Demps fit, especially after missing all of training camp to pursue the Olympics? He will start fourth on the depth chart and must prove himself quickly. Perhaps Demps could contribute returning kicks.

Do the Patriots need Demps? Not really. But at the very least, they acquired another elite athlete and potentially kept Demps from a division rival.

Demps may have won a silver medal this summer. But it's clear the Patriots are going for the gold.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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