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Patriots target Woodyard, LaFell, Avant

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The Patriots quietly hosted a handful of lower-tier free agents and created some salary cap space Wednesday.

According to sources and other media reports, the Patriots hosted defensive end Matt Shaughnessy, linebacker Wesley Woodyard and receivers Brandon LaFell and Jason Avant Wednesday, and will host Rams backup guard Shelley Smith Thursday. Shaughnessy promptly re-signed with the Cardinals for two years after his visit, while Woodyard, a starter for the Broncos last season, said he appreciated his opportunity to meet with the Patriots.

“The visit with the Patriots went great,” Woodyard told ESPN. “I got to sit down with the coaches. I talked to [Bill] Belichick, too. He told me how he sees my role with the team. I respect him a lot.”

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