Don’t Confuse Garbage Players for Value Veterans

The Patriots are being linked to a number of veteran players and big names as teams in the NFL look to fill holes in their rosters.

Some of those names are intriguing. Reports suggest the Patriots offered pick number 32 to the Saints for speedy wideout Brandin Cooks, who gave Malcolm Butler fits in the 2016 preseason. They also worked out Jaguars defensive end Jared Odrick. But a number of other big names are generating unfounded excitement in sports media and among fans.

The Boston Globe reported that Brandon Marshall and the Patriots have “mutual interest.” Despite an impressive 2015 campaign, the big wideout fell victim to injuries and was at odds with his teammates for much of 2016. Though a big red zone target, Marshall’s career has been littered with unflattering headlines and locker room instability. Add that he’s still playing co-host on Inside The NFL, and thus is trying to build a broadcasting career while also still working for a team, and he just isn’t an appropriate fit.

Reports also indicate that Adrian Peterson, after making some money with the Vikings, would be willing to take a team-friendly deal in the quest for a Super Bowl ring. Consider his 2016 season, however. He played in 3 games, averaged 1.9 yards per carry and 24 yards per game, and suffered knee and groin injuries. Teams such as the Bucs and the Giants have ruled him out, which begs the question: why would the Patriots waste their time with this guy?

One must also consider Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft’s assurance that the Patriots would never sign another running back linked to abuse. Ray Rice was a similarly versatile veteran back who left the Ravens after a bad season and his domestic violence ordeal. Would Kraft want to deal with the optics of hypocrisy by signing a guy who viciously beat his young son with a stick? Also, he rode a camel into his birthday party. It just doesn’t seem like the right fit.

There are better fits out there in free agency. Blount is familiar with the offense, and his antics in Pittsburgh should keep him affordable despite his excellent 2016 season. Cooks is still inexpensive on his rookie deal, and a trade to acquire him may still be possible. If Cooks can’t be acquired, DeSean Jackson would be worth the higher price tag than a broken, washed-up Marshall.

Either way, the Patriots can find better options for their offense than some garbage retreads who are on their way out.

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