The Patriots are scheduled to host offensive tackle Chad Clifton for a workout and physical this week.
The Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick have made it a common practice to hold workouts and physicals for "street" free agents. Last season, they worked out Clinton Portis. Last week, they worked out Plaxico Burress.
But the Clifton workout might signal something larger.
The Patriots could consider the 36-year-old veteran left tackle an option on an offensive line swamped by injuries. Left tackle Nate Solder and right tackle Marcus Cannon drew poor reviews in Thursday's game against the Saints and injuries have thinned New England's offensive line at several positions.
Clifton played his entire 12-year career with the Packers but has had leg and knee injuries that make his durability a question mark.
The Patriots must replace left tackle Matt Light, who retired in May against the wishes of Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. Light was a mainstay on the left side of the line for 11 seasons.