I know the Patriots don't shed many tears over free agent departures--in fact have made it a science--but for my taste we seem to be an especial revolving door in New England when it comes to cornerbacks. Maybe it just feels that way because injuries have also kept new faces cycling through the backfield, but even our greatest players at the position--i.e. Ty Law--apparently didn't ultimately warrant contract extensions or even particularly strenuous negotiation when all was said and done.
I guess you might as well forget everything I said last week, too, about picking up a linebacker in the draft (even though I still think that's where the best players are):
Not including Samuel and Gay -- who have not signed their tenders -- the Patriots have Ellis Hobbs and Chad Scott as their top cornerbacks under contract. The team is likely to bolster the position in this month's draft.
I understand that the Patriots also stand to gain draft picks if they lose both players, so it might not necessarily interfere with linebackers in the first round, but still, I worry. I am a fan. This is what I do.
Maybe cornerback is a less valuable position, whatever the player, within the Patriots' system. Maybe Ty was too old and Asante's just not all that and I'm seeing a pattern when there isn't one.
But I also think there's something to be said for a little balance in the Foxboro Force, here--for a little stability at a position that through injury and contract disputes has seen a long parade of personnel over the last couple of years.