There was talk that the Patriots were going to acquire disgruntled quarterback-killer Julius Peppers(notes) from Carolina, but those rumors seem to have fizzled out. There were also rumors that Jason Taylor(notes) would sign with the Patriots; that is, of course, before he signed with the Dolphins yesterday afternoon.
So where do the Patriots turn now? They sacked the opposing quarterback 31 times last year, which is about an average amount. Nothing special, nothing terrible. But when your secondary is a little suspect (and New England's is), you'd like to make up for that with quarterback pressure.
It looks like New England's taken a step backwards there, though. Mike Vrabel(notes) took his four sacks to Kansas City, though the team did bring back Tully Banta-Cain(notes), who recorded five-and-a-half sacks in his last year with the Patriots. Of course, he didn't have that many in the following two years combined with the 49ers.
There's still Richard Seymour(notes), of course, and there's still Adalius Thomas(notes). They'll make up the majority of the Patriots pass rush. But who else? Pierre Woods(notes) didn't make much of an impact last year, and third-round pick Tyrone McKenzie(notes) out of South Florida probably isn't ready to wreak much havoc this year. And if the Patriots thought they had the answer on their roster, I doubt they'd have ever shown interest in Taylor or Peppers to begin with.
It's just something to keep an eye on as the offseason trudges along. Maybe the Pats ought to consult Jason Cole's list of the best players still available in free agency.