Mailbag: Brandon Spikes’ departure, backfield needs, and free agency


Is Brandon Spikes really leaving New England? That and more as free agency opens up in this week’s mailbag.

Why is it such a given that Brandon Spikes is leaving New England? I get that he’s a little off the reservation and doesn’t perfectly fit the Patriot mold, but he still has a lot to offer. Did the relationship between Spikes and the team completely fall apart? –Tom from Washington D.C.

It would appear that the relationship between the Patriots’ organization and Brandon Spikes has completely fallen apart. Spikes is clearly convinced he will be wearing a different uniform next season, as he tweeted this out prior to hitting free agency:

Rumors that Spikes might explore free agency this offseason have been swirling since at least last offseason. However, it only became a sure thing this past postseason when Spikes was placed on injured reserve by the team, despite rumors that he was planning on continuing to play.

Do the Pats need a fullback? We haven’t seen one, but isn’t it an aiding element of their offensive attack? –Chris from Portland, ME

Chris, you are actually forgetting about James Develin, who was a regular on last season’s 53-man roster and remains under contract through 2014. While he never played a prominent role in the offense, he did contribute at times as a blocker, receiver, and rusher. He finished the season with four carries and four receptions.

The Patriots will typically bring in a fullback or two during training camp when the NFL allows 90 players on the roster. From there it seems that they assess the abilities of those fullbacks along with all other skill position players (running backs, tight ends, wide receivers) to determine who makes the 53-man roster. This season Develin and whoever else the Patriots might bring into camp will have to prove that they deserve a roster spot over several other offensive weapons.

Thanks to everyone for the emails. Tweet all your Patriots-related questions, comments, and stories to @cover32_NE or @TC_Howard. You can also email questions to

Previous articlePittsburgh Steelers free agency recap—3/12/14
Next articleMaurice Jones-Drew, Eric Decker have New York Jets links