The New England Patriots aren’t the only team looking for help at the
safety position. Despite signing former San Diego Charger Steve Gregory, the Patriots hosted Washington Redskins free agent LaRon Landry.
Landry visited New England yesterday, and left
without a contract. He made his way to New York to visit with
the Jets today and has another visit scheduled with the Detroit Lions. According to multiple reports, there is one other
unnamed team in the mix for Landry’s services, though Scout.com's Aaron Wilson indicated Landry has three more visits after the Jets.
Landry’s decision to visit New York and the other teams before making a
decision could push him off New England’s radar. The Jets, also looking
for safety help, hosted Bengals safety Reggie Nelson this weekend in
addition to Landry. Nelson apparently received an offer from
New York, and a decision is expected within 24 hours.
The available talent in the safety market dried up when teams started
using their Franchise tags on players. Tyvon Branch
(Raiders), Dashon Goldson (49ers) and Michael Griffin (Titans) were all
tagged by their clubs rather than being able to test free agency.
The cost to Franchise a safety in 2012 was set at a guaranteed $6.212
More of a thumper strong safety than a cover guy, Landry would fill the
need for a tough run stuffer in the secondary, while Gregory could be
more of a free safety type. But Landry has to prove
he’s healthy enough to warrant a new deal from a perspective team.
Landry was willing to return to the Redskins and play under a one year
‘prove it’ contract to show that he was healthy. According to the Washington Post, Landry
has suffered from bone spurs which caused issues with his Achilles.
“Landry opted for alternative medicine
procedures rather than surgery last offseason, and briefly showed
flashes of his old form once the season began. But the Achilles' injury
flared back up again, forcing him to end the year on injured reserve
Landry was told by doctors that he needs surgery to remove bone spurs
from the bone in the area of his Achilles' tendon. But Landry again has
opted for non-surgical treatments and remains confident he can return
to 100 percent.”
Landry appeared in nine games in 2010, and just eight in 2011.
The Patriots may opt to turn to the NFL Draft rather than take a chance
on Landry is he’s determined to hold out for a big payday.
New England has a pair of first round picks and a pair of second round
picks to use to restock the roster. In what is expect to be a wheeling
and dealing Draft again for New England; those picks give the team the
firepower to move around to get a player for the future although top
ranked Mark Barron may be off the board by the time New England picks.
The Patriots have addressed their need at receiver, so the Patriots' available cap room, estimated around $13.7 million before this
weekend’s signings, could be used on another free agent safety if
Landry chooses to sign elsewhere.