The first phase of free agency is pretty much done. On Wednesday, the handshake deals that were agreed on during the tampering period get a chance to be executed, the new league year begins, and team-building really gets started.
We looked at some free-agent possibilities late last week, but with a new phase starting Wednesday, we wanted to update those watch lists, and add some names who could be in play via trade. (The attraction there? You don’t have to give up a compensatory pick, something that’s become a big part of New England’s approach.)
So, with all that in mind, taking into account financial flexibility, positional demands and team-building (and trading) history, we tried to put together a realistic look at some names (both in free agency and trade) who could be targeted by the Patriots during the next phase of the process. There are some familiar names, as well as some under-the-radar types who have some of the characteristics New England will be looking for this offseason.