Is there a free agent splash coming for the Patriots? The free agent market will be depleted because of the unavailability of fourth- and fifth-year pros, taking potential “splash’’ players such as Shawne Merriman, Barrett Ruud, Oshiomogho Atogwe, DeMeco Ryans, Vincent Jackson, Brandon Marshall, Darren Sproles, and Elvis Dumervil off the open market.
There’s one big fish to keep an eye on - Julius Peppers. Remember, the Patriots sniffed around Moss for quite some time before trading for him, so last year’s rumblings about Peppers could’ve been a precursor to a real run at him. Peppers is almost certain to become a free agent, since the Panthers would have to tender him an offer of more than $20 million to franchise him for a second straight year.