QB Tom Brady and T Matt Light celebrated last summer when the Dolphins shipped DE Jason Taylor to the Washington Redskins for a pair of draft picks. A year later, Taylor is a free agent, having been released by the Redskins. Could Taylor land back in the AFC East with the pass rush-needy Patriots?
The Boston Herald’s John Tomase explores the possibility, referencing some of Bill Belichick‘s praise for the 6-foot-6 defensive end over the years, including this quote from Dec. 8, 2006, two days before the eventual Defensive Player of the Year hurt the Patriots with six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in a 21-0 Dolphins victory.
- “I really can’t think of a player that Jason Taylor hasn’t given problems to,” Belichick said. “I think he’s one of the hardest guys to block in the league. Speed is one of Taylor’s assets, but it’s certainly not the only one.
- “If you take one thing away, he has other things that he can complement that with. That’s what makes Taylor, to me, as good a player on defense as I’ve seen this year.”
Belichick has long had an affinity for those players who have performed well against his team, and after watching Taylor up close twice every year, there is likely no defensive player with whom he is more familiar. As for how he may fit into the Patriots’ plans, Thomase writes:
- “Just a few months shy of his 35th birthday, (Taylor is) unlikely to command a megabucks contract or a long-term one. He’s coming off a down year with the Redskins (just 3.5 sacks after averaging slightly more than 12.5 per season during his heydays with Miami from 2000-07) and would undoubtedly like to prove he has something left.
- “He’d fill an obvious need for the Pats, who lacked a consistent pass rush last season and are now even thinner in that department with Mike Vrabel shipped to Kansas City. Though Taylor has spent the bulk of his career as a 4-3 defensive end, he has experience as a 3-4 hybrid and has returned three interceptions for touchdowns, including one against the Patriots in 2007.”