RUMOR: The Patriots may be interested in Donnie Edwards
STATUS: Warm -- Unconfirmed
BUZZ: One of the stories from last season -- the Patriots' pursuit of San Diego Chargers linebacker Donnie Edwards for a Draft pick -- has picked up momentum in 2007. Edwards who played through the final year of his contract with the Chargers in 2006, is currently a free agent and may be just the player the Patriots are looking for.
The buzz surrounding the 33-year-old free agent linebacker has ramped up in recent days after it was clear there would be no immediate deal for Edwards with another team.
Reality Edwards has already drawn interest from the New Orleans Saints and the Kansas City Chiefs. Chiefs GM Carl Peterson spoke with Edwards' agent about bringing the KC product back to town, but that level of interest took a hit when the Chiefs signed free agent Napoleon Harris. The Kansas City Star reported that Peterson still likes Edwards but may be inclined to retain Kawika Mitchell instead if they can get him at the right price. Mitchell has been the Chiefs starting middle linebacker the past four seasons.
Warpaint Illustrated publisher Nick Athan told Patriots Insider that Mitchell has drawn interest from New Orleans and Detroit, so the price to re-sign him may be too steep. Considering that news, KC may indeed be more inclined to obtain Edwards anyway.
The Saints, who were looking for linebacker help in 2007, managed to pull another rug out from under New England after their decision to trade Donte Stallworth to the Eagles last year. New Orleans re-signed their own pending free agent Scott Shanle before the start of free agency. The Patriots had been eying Shanle to shore up their linebacker unit.
New Orleans, reported to be players for Edwards, also took a step back when they decide to sign Bengals linebacker Brian Simmons yesterday.
We have been unable to confirm any contact between Edwards and the Patriots at this time. It's probably related to their moves in free agency not to mention, Edwards' size and age. The Patriots are working looking at bigger linebackers, which was one reason they signed Adalius Thomas (6-foot-2, 270-pounds).
IMPACT: At 6-foot-2, 230-pounds, Edwards doesn't have the type of size the Patriots are looking for at inside linebackers. With the retirement of Don Davis (First reported by PatriotsInsider.com), and the questionable return of Junior Seau, the Patriots need to add some depth in the middle. Edwards had a banner season last year with the Chargers. The hope would be that if he were to land in Foxborough that he could repeat that performance (141 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 INTs and 4 passes defensed).
One source indicated to PatriotsInsider.com that the league Insiders felt Tedy Bruschi was wearing down last season, and that the Patriots would look for another former college defensive end that could spell Bruschi during the season and eventually replace Bruschi when the long time Patriot eventually retires.
Edwards could handle the role Davis filled in passing situations, but he's not going to be the one to replace Bruschi long term. New England may be more inclined to let Eric Alexander have another chance to show he has what it takes. Corey Mays also came on strong late last season as the former Notre Dame linebacker has progressed well from his time as an undrafted rookie free agent.
Patriots Insider tracks all rumors and player visits in the Insider's Lounge Message Board. Be sure to check the board often for updates. Fans can submit questions for insiders and we will follow up with players, agents and league insiders to get you the information. Available to premium members only.