Following up on veteran DEs

March, 23, 2013
3/23/13
11:55
AM ET
A strong crop of veteran defensive ends remains unsigned, and a couple of the top names have been linked to the Patriots.

Earlier this month, both Dwight Freeney and John Abraham visited Foxborough, although an agreement didn't materialize for either player.

Those two have had other suitors this offseason, and are joined by Osi Umenyiora and Elvis Dumervil as the top players at the position still looking for a contract.

Here's the latest on each player, based on recent reports.

Osi Umenyiora. It appears as though the longtime Giant is the closest to finding a team, as ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter has reported that the Falcons are looking to strike a deal before the end of the weekend. Umenyiora could slide into the role vacated by Abraham's release earlier this offseason.

Elvis Dumervil. According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, the top criteria for Dumervil in choosing his next team is going somewhere he feels wanted. The Broncos remain in the mix to re-sign Dumervil, as do the Ravens, Klis says, while adding that one or two other teams could be involved as well.

John Abraham/Dwight Freeney. The pair of pass-rushers have overlapped in more than one city during their free agency tour, as they each recently traveled to Denver to visit the Broncos. Neither came away with an offer, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network and NFL.com says the Broncos' preference is to re-sign Dumervil.

QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: There could be a domino effect if a deal between Umenyiora and the Falcons is reached, particularly for Abraham and Freeney, who are at similar points in their careers. Dumervil seems to be in the market for bigger money than the older trio, and a return to Denver seems plausible. From a Patriots' fit standpoint, the feeling here is Abraham is the best option among the trio of him, Freeney and Umenyiora. Where Abraham would fit best is as a sub rusher, something the Patriots could use to complement their top duo of rushers in Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. It's unclear if the Patriots remain interested in Abraham, but he'd be a quality addition to the roster.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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