Last week it was reported that Jermichael Finley took a visit to a mystery team on Friday. After being medically cleared by his personal physician, it was only a matter of time before interest started heating up around him. When healthy, Finley is one of the best tight ends in the league that can help fill the middle of the field. Now it is becoming more clear just who is interested and who is not.
According to ESPN.com's Adam Schefter, the New England Patriots were the team that brought Finley in for a visit. This is no surprise to anyone. New England learned the hard way last season what happens where there is a lack of depth on the roster. After losing Wes Welker to free agency, Aaron Hernandez to arrests and Rob Gronkowski to injuries, all that was left were unknowns. Determined to not let that happen again, the Patriots have been linked to multiple wide receivers and tight ends via free agency and trades this offseason.
The Patriots have already looked at former Miami Dolphins and Jets tight end Dustin Keller. He was in the same boat as Finley. Both players are coming off severe season-ending injuries that took a year to heal. Now they are competing, trying to prove who is the healthier of the bunch. Both have been cleared by personal doctors, but must also be medically cleared by team doctors in order to sign. Keller and Finley took visits to the Patriots and walked away without a deal which could mean there are lingering questions regarding their health status.
The Patriots need to add a body regardless and both Finley and Keller would come cheap. They could easily sign either player to a minimum one-year deal and see how they shape up on the field. Rob Gronkowski is reportedly set to return by the start of the season after tearing his ACL, but injury history says that is no guarantee and the Patriots need a backup plan just in case.
They are taking the same approach when it comes to Danny Amendola. After the wide receiver pulled a disappearing act last season, New England is being cautious about his availability. The team has been linked to trades involving Andre Johnson, Mike Wallace and Denarius Moore in order to round out the wide receivers group. It appears to only be a matter of time before someone gets a contract.
They are also considering loading up on the running back position. Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com is reporting the Patriots are taking a close look at Michael Bush who has been sitting on the market after getting released by the Chicago Bears. New England has been searching for a veteran to fill the void of LeGarrette Blount who departed in free agency. The team did draft James White, but Bush is a change-of-pace back that could certainly be useful.