Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dennard verdict complicates Patriots’ secondary


The future of the New England Patriots’ defensive backfield got a little more complicated Wednesday, and the question now may be just how many players the team will have to bring in to fix it.

Alfonzo Dennard, the team’s No. 2 cornerback last season, was convicted of felony assault on a police officer and resisting arrest in Lincoln, Neb., Wednesday stemming from an incident last April.

The charges, according to, could land Dennard in jail for as many as six years, but the specifics won’t be known until sentencing on April 11. Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly said similar cases have yielded a sentence ranging from probation to 180 days in jail.

However, the uncertainty could be problematic for the Patriots, who have enough problems in the secondary as it is. Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington, the team's two other top cornerbacks, are both set to become unrestricted free agents in March.

The franchise tag option has been thrown around for a number of players including Talib (Sebastian Vollmer, Wes Welker), which may gain more steam now with the uncertainty surrounding Dennard.

The good news for New England is that Dennard’s sentencing will be before the draft, so they will at least have an idea of how to proceed. That’s pending any further action that could come down from the league.

Adding on to the bad news for the Pats is the fact that if they choose to shop for a cornerback in the draft, they are much more limited than they have been in years past with only five picks. And the team may need to act fast if they want to snag a free agent corner in March, as the field is even lighter than it was last season.

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