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2013 NFL Free Agency: Patriots 'interested' in Mike Wallace

Maybe New England is looking to load up for another run for that fourth ring with aging QB Tom Brady. Or, maybe they're just looking to drive up the market price for Mike Wallace's services.

Jim Rogash

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald is as accomplished a beat reporter as there is in the biz. He's been covering the Dolphins since 1990, and is often at the front of any news report associated with the team.

He's reporting an agent told him the New England Patriots "have interest" in wide receiver Mike Wallace, but cautions that "we're at the point where we're reporting interest."

We mentioned the Patriots as a possible suitor for Wallace, even with what's expected to be a significantly large contract. They've subsisted on a relatively thin group of receivers, particularly outside the numbers, and have leaned heavily on the tight end position for receptions outside of WR Wes Welker - who's also a free agent.

The market hasn't really established itself for high-end slot receivers in the current version of the game. Welker and Rams WR Danny Amendola were both allowed to test free agency, and while both still could re-sign with their 2012 employers, the fact they were allowed to explore other options speaks to a general unknown value of a slot receiver in terms of dollars.

The Patriots signed both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to long-term extensions, electing their versatility and youth over Welker's reliance. Patriots coach and general manager, Bill Belichick, has re-invented this team offensively numerous times in his time there, and any supposed interest in Wallace could mean he's looking to bring them back to a more vertical concept, like their record-smashing numbers in 2007.

Granted, Wallace would cost a bit more than Randy Moss, whom they acquired in a trade with Oakland that year, but the restructuring of Tom Brady's contract for substantially less than his market value freed the Patriots up with some cap space for this season.

After a 2012 draft that brought in some young defensive talent, the Patriots may look at stockpiling for one more run for that fourth Super Bowl ring, something that has eluded them in two Super Bowl appearances since 2007.

Or, maybe the Patriots are just mentioning it to drive up the price on Miami, who's expected to be the front-runners for him.