Jason Taylor Not The Player He Used To Be

As a life long Miami Dolphin, Jason Taylor used to terrorize Patriots QB Tom Brady. After a year in the NFC playing for the maligned Redskins, Taylor returned to Miami despite flirtations with joining the Patriots. The talented playmaker is a free agent, but New England is sitting on the sideline this time around. Could it be the Patriots have realized that Taylor isn't the same player? Probably.

Anyone who's followed the Patriots knows Bill Belichick is a flag-waving Jason Taylor fan.

With the veteran free-agent defensive end/linebacker hybrid up for grabs, will the Patriots bring him on board the way they did with veteran Junior Seau several years ago?

No one seems to know the answer, but everyone has a theory. Taylor recently visited with the New York Jets, which should come as no surprise since head coach Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded coach and would love nothing more than to snag a player Belichick has coveted for years.

Taylor, however, is not the same player Belichick and others have fallen in love with over the years. At 36, he's lost a step and even has a few question marks surrounding his commitment to offseason workouts and other voluntary exercises.

Taylor fell out of favor with the coaching staff and upper management in Miami toward the end of his tenure with the Dolphins, prompting a trade to Washington in 2008. The following year, Washington released him when he refused to participate in workouts because he wanted to stay home and be closer to his family.

With new management on board in Miami, Taylor returned to the Dolphins and played moderately well -- well enough to keep him on the front burner as he hits the market. There's no doubt the Patriots could use the services of another dangerous pass-rusher considering their own deficiencies in that department last year.

The question is whether they'll be willing to deal with Taylor's high price tag and the potential risk of him not fitting in with the "Patriot Way."

For someone with his talent, it might be worth the risk.

Whatever decision the Patriots decide to make, they better move fast because Taylor has already checked out the scene in New York. As pieces fall into place for other teams before and immediately after the draft, Taylor could be a player in high demand.

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