In a surprising move by the Oakland Raiders, they released Tommy Kelly at the end of March. Two days ago, the New England Patriots announced they had signed the 8-year DT to a two-year deal. This provides comfort to me for a few reasons as Patriots fan.
1) The Patriots are not done yet in free agency. Tommy Kelly marks the sixth defensive player signed or resigned. Obviously, this was a point of frustration for the 2012 team and Bill Belicheck set out this offseason to fix this. After a strong start to free agency things cooled off over the last couple weeks, so to see the Patriots still making moves is definitely a good sign. Especially in light of the budget released last week by the NFLPA indicating the $10 million in cap space the Patriots still had. With 15 days until the NFL draft and only 5 picks on the board this year, I would not be surprised if the Patriots had a few more moves to make.
2) Vince Wilfork is one of the most feared defensive players in the NFL today. He needs to be game planned for by every team, every game. Unfortunately he has been one of the few consistently feared players the Patriots have had in the past couple years. A Pro-Bowl alternate 2 years ago, Tommy Kelly, still seems to have some left in the tank. Although I don’t expect him to play every day, his interior pass rush skill, alongside Wilfork could be devastating, or at least more devastating than last year, which isn’t saying much.
In the end, with the additions made by the Patriots this offseason, I expect to see a one of the better defenses in recent memory