This one comes with a tip of the cap to our good friend Scott Benson, who is recovering nicely from his heart attack suffered during the season.
Scott is a big advocate of Colts middle linebacker Gary Brackett, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Brackett has been a stalwart of the Colts defense. He’s not a big guy (5-11, 235), so he doesn’t fit what the Patriots have traditionally looked for in a middle linebacker, but as Bill Belichick would say “The guy is a football player.” What he may lack in size, he makes up for in effort, leadership, intelligence and will.
The Globe today had a profile of Brackett as he prepares with his Colts teammates to face the Jets in the AFC Championship game (AKA Black Sunday for Patriots fans). Colts coach Jim Caldwell described Brackett this way:
“He’s a guy who loves what he is doing. He has an infectious sort of personality, and it rubs off on every single guy on our defense, even with his voice inflection. They trust him, they know he is going to be right when he gets the defense set, and he plays recklessly.
“He’s a guy people have considered to be a bit undersized, but he plays big every single night out.’’
With the much publicized, and perhaps overhyped “leadership void” on the Patriots this season, someone like Brackett would be a huge addition to the Patriots locker room. Getting a veteran linebacker who knows how to run a defense, and can make plays would be a huge addition.
But would he even consider the Patriots? That’s a tough one. Scott pointed out that according to the NFLPA, Brackett’s salaries during the last four seasons were as follows: $460,000 (2006), $1.67 million (2007), $2.055 million (2008) and $2.415 million (2009). Very team-friendly dollars for the Colts, who have some huge contracts on their books. It’s possible he might want to go elsewhere for a bigger payday, but are the Patriots going to be the team to give it to him?
He’s also very entrenched in the Indianapolis community, so he might be hesitant to leave. He is a huge piece of the Colts team and locker room. Should the Patriots manage to sign him away from them, it would be the classic “strengthen yourself, weaken your enemy” move.
I’m not sure it is realistic, but it sure would be a nice move to make.