According to Brandon Krisztal, co-host of the Denver Post’s “Press Box” radio show in Colorado, the Patriots will meet early this week with free agent Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard. The 27-year-old will arrive in Boston today. He’s reportedly drawn interest from three clubs to this point, including the Cowboys.
As New England witnessed last season, Woodyard is an energetic tackling machine. In the Pats’ late-November comeback in Foxborough, the veteran of six seasons forced a fumble and had a season-high 15 total tackles before being limited to just a pair in the Broncos’ AFC Championship victory. In 14 regular season games, Woodyard registered 84 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception. He had a career-year in 2012 with 117 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and three picks. He’s a bit undersized at 6’0” and 235 pounds but he’s fast and thrives in pass coverage, where the Pats have had their struggles.
But, as productive as he is on the field, Krisztal noted via text that Woodyard is most coveted for what he brings a team when not in uniform.
“He’s been a captain everywhere he’s been, from high school to Kentucky, where he went undrafted despite leading the SEC in tackling,” wrote Krisztal. “He was a game captain [in Denver] as a rookie, then a special teams captain and defensive captain the last few years. He’s been Denver’s Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee twice for his role in the community and some people would consider him more of a leadership void than losing Champ Bailey.”
Krisztal added that Dallas would be less appealing for Woodyard, who’s expecting his first child, because he would have to sign a one-year deal on account of the Cowboys’ cap issues. The departed Bronco is seeking a multiple-year deal worth about $4 million annually, according to a source close to Krisztal.
It’s no secret the Pats could use depth help on the defensive side of the ball, particularly at linebacker with the loss of Brandon Spikes and if health continues to be a concern. The cost is reasonable and would be a good way for New England to kick off free agency.
Woodyard played for Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in Denver in 2009 and 2010.
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Adam Kaufman is a writer and broadcaster who can also be heard regularly on 98.5 The Sports Hub, WBZ NewsRadio 1030, the national CBS Sports Radio Network, and broadcasting Boston College hockey games. The Massachusetts native is a Syracuse grad and a pop culture fanatic who offers a unique and entertaining look at your favorite Boston sports teams. Please don't hold his love for Jean-Claude Van Damme movies against him.
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