Free Agent Says "No Thanks" To New England

The New England Patriots have dropped out of the hunt for free agent lineman Barry Sims. has the latest reaction from Sims' agent on why New England is no longer under consideration and what else is going into Sims' decision.

The Baltimore Ravens are among the three finalists to sign veteran free agent offensive tackle Barry Sims, but appear to be trailing behind the St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers according to Ravens Insider Aaron Wilson. The Patriots have been eliminated from consideration as Sims is looking to land a starting role, or at least compete for one, and that is not available to him in New England.

Vierra has said that Sims is primarily looking to conclude his career as a starter on a team that has a chance to make the playoffs. He hasn't publicly outlined any financial requirements, but that will be an obvious point of consideration, too.

"It's down to the Ravens, Rams and 49ers," Ken Vierra, Sims' agent, told Wilson Friday afternoon. "We will make a difficult decision this weekend."

Sims, 33, is a former nine-year Oakland Raiders starter who was cut by the Raiders on Feb. 26 in a salary-cap maneuver. He visited all four suitors recently in his free agency tour.

Sims, who nearly signed with the Carolina Panthers in March, has eliminated the Patriots from his list of suitors. New England has starters Logan Mankins and Stephen Neal returning for 2008 with guard Russ Hochstein in line to be the primary backup. The team signed free agent Oliver Ross in the off-season, shoring up the tackle position, though Ross could also compete for a role at guard if needed there.

Signing with the 49ers, of course, would allow Sims to remain in the Bay Area. The 49ers have offensive line issues and face another challenging year with concerns over second year starter Joe Staley and Jonas Jennings at left and right tackle, respectively. The guard position is just as unstable with Adam Jennings (11 starts) and Dave Bass (8 starts) only seeing starting roles for part of the season last year. The team drafted unheralded rookie guard Chilo Rachal out of USC to help, but competition for a starting role would favor Sims.

The Rams are just as unsettled along their interior line on the right side with Richie Incognito participating in 4 games last year while his backup Nick Leckey saw action in just 3 games. Perennial All-Pro tackle Orlando Pace mans one tackle position while Alex Barron is backed up by 2008 Draft pick John Greco on the right side. Former Patriot Brandon Gorin remains a reserve possibility. St. Louis however isn't expected to compete for a role in the playoffs, lessening the likelihood that Sims would choose the Midwest as an option.

Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron recently declared that Jared Gaither will open camp as the starting left tackle with former second-round draft pick Adam Terry, who's recovering from off-season ankle surgery, penciled in as the starting right tackle in Baltimore. Former first round pick Ben Grubbs mans one right guard spot, while second-year pro Marshal Yanda mans the other, leaving open the possibility that Sims could conceivably find a spot there.

Wherever Sims lands, chances are it will be an NFC team. Although the Patriots re-signed reserve guard Gene Mruczkowski and free agent Oliver Ross, New England may add another veteran interior lineman depending upon the outcome of Nick Kaczur's legal issue and Neal's recovery from injury.

Aaron Wilson of contributed to this report. Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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