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Patriots retain Bodden, but Green departs

Defensive lineman signs with Broncos

By Albert R. Breer
Globe Staff / March 10, 2010

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The Patriots locked up one key to their future yesterday, but also cut one more tie to their illustrious past.

Welcome back, Leigh Bodden. Goodbye, Jarvis Green.

Bodden signed a four-year contract to remain with the Patriots, a deal announced by agent Alvin Keels via his Twitter page. The contract has a maximum value of $22 million and guarantees the 28-year-old cornerback $10 million.

Meanwhile, Green inked a four-year deal with the Broncos with a maximum value of close to $20 million, including nearly $7 million in guaranteed money.

Bodden, the ex-Brown and ex-Lion, signed a one-year, make-good deal worth $2.25 million with the Patriots for 2009, and hit the market this offseason widely regarded as the second-best player at his position, behind ex-Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson. Once Robinson signed a six-year, $57 million deal in Atlanta, the wheels were set in motion for Bodden’s deal to get done.

His first stop was Houston, where the Texans were looking to fill the hole created by Robinson’s departure. Bodden dined with coach Gary Kubiak shortly after arriving in town Sunday night, then met with team officials Monday at Reliant Stadium, where, the Houston Chronicle reported, he was offered a deal in the $5 million-per-year range.

The Patriots moved quickly to sweeten the pot. A source with knowledge of the situation told the Globe Monday night that Bodden, who led New England with five interceptions in 2009, was taking the evening to make a decision. He and Keels finalized the deal yesterday.

The Patriots were less aggressive with Green, who has spent his entire eight-year career in New England.

The Broncos were aggressive at the outset of free agency with Green, backed off briefly, then made their move Monday, bringing the 31-year-old defensive lineman in from the East Coast. Green arrived in Colorado and the sides agreed to terms Monday night, with the player’s physical yesterday finalizing the deal.

Green, whom coach Josh McDaniels was with for seven years in New England, is expected to be part of the overhaul of Denver’s defensive front, with new coordinator Don Martindale taking over for Mike Nolan.

Martindale worked under an ex-Patriot assistant in Oakland, then-defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, and is expected to run a system closer to New England’s gap-control scheme than Nolan did. The Broncos also signed Ravens free agent end Justin Bannan and Chargers free agent nose tackle Jamal Williams to shore up the middle.

Green’s departure means the Patriots now have just eight players left under contract who were part of a Super Bowl championship in New England, and two (Tully Banta-Cain, David Patten) left and came back. If Kevin Faulk re-signs, the number would rise to nine.

Green finished his Patriots career with 28 sacks, five passes defensed, and nine forced fumbles. He may be best remembered for his playoff performance - registering 2 1/2 sacks on Peyton Manning in the 2003 AFC Championship, then filling in capably for an injured Richard Seymour in 2004.

The Patriots made another minor move, signing Jets special teamer Marques Murrell.

Murrell, the younger brother of ex-NFL running back Adrian Murrell, entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Eagles in 2007. He was plucked off the Philadelphia practice squad that November and has played a role for the New York kick units since.

Murrell, as a third-year pro, was scheduled to be a restricted free agent, but the Jets declined to tender him an offer, essentially setting him free to shop himself on the open market.

Albert R. Breer can be reached at abreer@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @albertbreer.

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