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Pats' moves are smart, not splashy

Signing Wilfork, Banta-Cain and Neal are big steps in the right direction

Updated: March 6, 2010, 3:52 PM ET
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com

What the New England Patriots accomplished Friday should spark the same passionate reaction we saw when they aggressively and uncharacteristically signed free agent Adalius Thomas to a lucrative long-term deal in 2007.

But it probably won't.

Remember the buzz at that time? The possibilities seemed endless, with Bill Belichick's brilliant defensive mind working overtime to get the most out of a versatile, athletic, chiseled talent like Thomas. A big-time, $7 million-per-year free agent ...

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