Patriots Report: The Midwest Connection

<p>The New England Patriots continue the process of evaluating players available in the draft and via free agency. One such area of need that are addressing is the linebacker position. With the uncertain status of Bruschi, the team is not only interviewing college prospects for the 2005 NFL Draft, but they are flying in free agents for visits.</p><p>With recent acquisitions of Duane Starks and Tim Dwight, who else is on their radar screen?</p>

Patriots Report: The Midwest Connection
Patriots and Chiefs have players and needs in common
By Patriots Insider Staff

According to reports out of Green Bay and Kansas City as well as comments by his agent, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Monty Beisel has a trip planned to Foxboro. Beisel, a 6-foot-3, 238 pounds Kansas State alum, was one of the Chiefs’ better tacklers and special teams contributors. He played all three linebacker positions in 11 games for the Chiefs last year. With playing time in the middle and the outside, Beisel finished with 43 tackles and 2.5 sacks, both career highs.

Beisel was given the indication that he would not retain a starting position once the Chiefs signed Kendrell Bell. With injures to starter Shawn Barber and fellow MLB Mike Maslowski, the Chiefs lack of enthusiasm to retain a solid tackler in a woeful defense raises questions. Kansas City was ranked 31st overall, 12th vs the run and dead last (32nd) against the pass in 2004.

Beisel has already visited the Pittsburgh Steelers where indications are he would fit into the rotation as a reserve. According to the Packer Report, he plans on traveling to Green Bay to speak with Mike Sherman’s Packers next week. Beisel is also planning making a trip to New England for a Monday or Tuesday visit.

Kansas City linebackers Monty Beisel and Scott Fujita tackle Dallas Cowboy runnign back Eddie George
Monty Beisel and Scott Fujita take down Eddie George

In addition to Beisel, another Chiefs linebacker, OLB Scott Fujita also remains unsigned. Because Fujita is a restricted free agent the Chiefs have the right to match any offers Fujita receives on the open market. According to sources familiar with the situation, Fujita is not expected to draw much interest because most teams believe that the Chiefs will match any reasonable offer to retain one of their better defenders.

Interestingly, the Chiefs were one of the players in the mix for Edgarton Hartwell, the Baltimore Ravens free agent linebacker. Should they have signed Hartwell in addition to Bell, it’s an indication that they may not be willing to wait for their injured regulars to return to form. It bears watching this situation after the draft and the June 1st roster cuts to see if one of the other Chiefs linebackers becomes available.

In other news regarding the Chiefs and the Patriots connection, published reports coming out of Miami and Kansas City indicate that coach Vermeil is much closer to acquiring the help he needs to improve that last place pass defense. The Dolphins will not retain Patrick Surtain, the Miami Dolphins standout cornerback. His cap number is simply too large to swallow for another season. Coach Nick Saban would love to retain Surtain at a lower price, but that does not seem likely considering the interest Surtain is likely to draw on an open market.

Nick Athan of Warpaint Illustrated has more on the Surtain negotiations and Dolphins coach Saban’s insistence of of compensation in what’s thought to be a second round pick here: Chiefs and Surtain Closer to a Match?

Interestingly, Saban tells the local media "If someone else wants to work a business deal for [Surtain] to be on their team, fine. But we will not compromise on our price. I'm not going to tell you what that is, but it's not to be compromised."

Patriots Insider Christopher Shepard has more on how the Surtain negotiations affect a fellow Patriot, unrestricted free agent, Ty Law: Nothing Surtain About Law. Law has been busy making trips of his own, and is looking at returning to Kansas City should the Surtain negotiations break down. He was on Kansas City radio claiming to be interested in the AFC offensive powerhouse just days after his entry into free agency.

For more on the comings and goings in free agency and the draft be sure to check out New stories daily including rumors, trades and Scout sightings around the country.

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