NFL free agency: Patriots release Brandon Lloyd sign Adrian Wilson, Aquib Talib and Kyle Arrington
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 17/03/13 6:39pm
Aquib Talib: Helped to improve Pats defence
The New England Patriots are being busy if unspectacular in their free agency moves with the latest batch being the release of wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, the signing of former Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson and the re-signing of two cornerbacks.
Kyle Arrington has signed a fresh four-year contract worth $18 million, while Aquib Talib, who the Patriots picked up in a trade with Tampa Bay last year, has penned just a one-year contract that will net him $5m.
New England's decision to let top pass-catcher Wes Welker join Denver and replace him with Danny Amendola raised eyebrows across the league, and they continued to rebuild their offence by letting veteran Lloyd leave.
A ten-year veteran, Lloyd has caught 385 passes for 5,695 yards and 35 touchdowns during 128 games Lloyd has played in 128 NFL games with 88 starts and has registered 385 receptions for 5,695 yards with 35 touchdowns during his ten NFL seasons.
Brandon Lloyd released by Pats
During his one-year stint at Foxborough Lloyd had 74 receptions for 911 yards and four touchdowns, but was due a $3m bonus, which the Pats were unwilling to hand out, and the two parties could not agree on a restructured deal to keep him on the team.
Bill Belichick's offensive still looks in good shape with two dominant tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, plus versatile and explosive running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen - with only a deep threat receiver needed to complete the puzzle.
Defence is a different story, and has been over the last few years in Foxborough despite a Super Bowl appearance and AFC Championship game defeat to Baltimore.
Cornerback was a huge problem last season but they smartened up their act when moving Arrington into the slot and bringing in Talib from the Buccaneers.
Arrington tied the NFL lead with seven interceptions in 2011, and has played in 57 games overall during his four years on the team, with 217 tackles to his name - 67 of them last season.
Talib's acquisition proved to be the turning point for the secondary last year, and the Pats were keen to hang on to him despite concerns about his off-field behaviour, and he now has another season to prove he is worthy of a big long-term contract.
Veteran safety Wilson is another piece of Belichick's defensive puzzle, and the five-time Pro Bowler will offer a much more physical presence to the Pats' defence, mainly in run-stopping situations given that at 33 his pass coverage is not the best.
Still, Wilson is the kind of veteran leader that the Patriots love to have around - he holds the league record for sacks by a defensive back in a single season with eight and is one of only six players in history to record 25 sacks and 25 interceptions in his career.
Bringing in a pass rusher is also one the agenda for New England, and they have recently hosted former Falcons defensive end John Abrahams and former Colts star Dwight Freeney as they look to continue their veteran free agent approach.