The Patriots have announced that second-round pick Jamie Collins, who was the first player the team drafted this year after trading out of the first round, has signed his contract.
Under the rookie salary slotting system, as the 52nd overall pick Collins' deal has a total value of around $3.76 million, with a signing bonus of $1.1 million.
The 23-year old Collins, listed at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, moved from safety to linebacker to 4-3 defensive end during his time at Southern Mississippi, and his play caught teams' eyes even as the Golden Eagles plodded through a winless season last fall.
Collins is the fourth of New England's seven draft picks to sign.
The world turned upside down on Kyle Love Wednesday. Within the span of a few weeks, he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and then waived by the New England Patriots, his medical status seemingly a prop used to dispose of the veteran defensive tackle.
While Love had a fairly successful run with the Patriots – he was an undrafted free agent who started 25 of 41 games in New England – he was most certainly not in the team's plans going forward. After beginning the 2012 season with 11 straight starts at defensive tackle, he worked as a substitute for the team's remaining seven games partly because of a knee injury.
At the time, Love's injury wasn't considered to be serious despite being labeled as "questionable" for five straight weeks. He was most notably taken out during passing downs and was supplanted by Brandon Deaderick on others. Deaderick, who was cut by the team on Monday, will join him in Jacksonville after both were claimed by the Jaguars.FULL ENTRY
Now there are three. The Patriots and Steve Beauharnais have finalized a contract for the linebacker.
The Patriots' final draft pick (235th overall), the Rutgers product is listed at 6 feet 1 inch, 240 pounds.
New England drafted three Scarlet Knights -- Beauharnais, Logan Ryan, and Duron Harmon -- and all three are now under contract.
Kyle Love was not unemployed for long. The former Patriots defensive tackle was claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday.
Love was released by the Patriots Wednesday with a non-football illness designation; he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the last two weeks.
Jacksonville also had claimed defensive tackle Brandon Deaderick, who was released by New England Monday.
The Patriots have one more draft pick signed: cornerback Logan Ryan.
Ryan was drafted 83d overall, the first of the three Rutgers players New England selected. His signing was announced by his agents on Twitter.
The rookie contracts post-CBA are fairly cut-and-dried, so they should all be done pretty quickly.
The Patriots have released defensive tackle Kyle Love, using the non-football illness designation.
Love was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the past two weeks, and as he was dealing with the illness, he was unable to take part in the team's offseason workout program. Love had a $100,000 workout bonus in his contract.
Listed at 6 feet 1 inch, 310 pounds, Love had dropped a significant amount of weight -- it is believed he was down to around 280 -- in a short time, which went unexplained at the time.
"I'm somewhat surprised," agent Richard Kopelman said. "I know the Patriots run a tight ship, but I'm a little surprised. But they were not willing to take any risk.
"Kyle is going to be at 100 percent within a matter of weeks. Barring something out of the ordinary, he should be ready to go for training camp, and he'll continue to be successful."
Kopelman noted that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler plays with Type 1 diabetes, and former Steeler Kendall Simmons played with Type 2.
Love was undrafted out of Mississippi State in 2010 but quickly earned a spot in the defensive line rotation, playing in nine games as a rookie. He played in all 16 games in each of the past two seasons, with 24 combined starts.
He was slowed by a knee injury in the latter weeks of the season but did not miss a game. Love was credited with 40 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one quarterback hit during the regular season.
Via the NFL transaction wire, the Patriots have signed third-round pick Duron Harmon. He is the first of the team's seven draft picks to sign.
According to the rookie salary scale instituted in the CBA, Harmon's deal should be in the neighborhood of four years, $2.7 million.
The 91st overall pick out of Rutgers, Harmon is a 6-foot, 200 pound defensive back.
The Patriots announced four roster moves Monday afternoon: fourth-year defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick and receiver Andre Holmes were released; also, rookie free agent OL R.J. Mattes was signed. New England also made the Tyronne Green deal official.
The release of Deaderick is a bit of a surprise. A a 2010 seventh-round pick out of Alabama, Deaderick played in 14 games last season with five starts. He was credited with 18 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, and a pass break-up.
Deaderick had played in 20 games over his first two seasons, starting five games in 2011 and four in '10.
Holmes was signed to the practice squad late last season.
Mattes was a four-year starter at guard and tackle while at North Carolina State. He is listed at 6 feet 6 inch, 313 pounds.
The 27-year old Green, listed at 6-2, 316 pounds, was a fourth-round pick of the Chargers in 2009.
Last season was the first time he was a full-time starter, appearing in 13 games and starting all of them at left guard. He appeared in 28 games with 15 starts over the first three seasons of his career.
Green became a free agent in March and was not re-signed by San Diego.
The Patriots now have 12 wide receivers on their roster after signing free agent Lavelle Hawkins to a 2-year deal. The addition makes for an interesting mix as the group of players competing to make the team swells to a number worthy of the show “Survivor.”
The clarity of the group’s rankings isn’t helped by Julian Edelman’s status, who is back in a walking boot after re-injuring his right foot. He is one player who can not afford to have an unhealthy training camp while the team has plenty of options – both cheaper and younger – to turn to in his stead. Without Edelman, who will possibly miss OTAs because of the injury, the Patriots are looking at a full-blown overhaul in the position group. That will lead to training camp battles as both veterans (Hawkins, Michael Jenkins, Donald Jones) and rookie free agents (T.J. Moe, Kenbrell Thompkins) fight for the remaining spots on the team’s roster.
But as history under Bill Belichick will tell you, the odds do not favor the veterans. For instance, just last season Belichick brought in free agents Brandon Lloyd, Donte’ Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, and Anthony Gonzalez in the offseason. Lloyd was the major free agent grab for the team, replacing Chad Ochocinco/Johnson, so his spot was secure. But Stallworth and Gaffney were returning to the franchise after sputtering out at their last stops. Neither made it through training camp, while Stallworth latched back on after injuries. Gonzalez didn’t even make it into training camp, with his career succumbing to his own injuries. Despite all three having respectable careers, they were no match for a healthy and entrenched group.
The transaction was first reported by the Tennessean.
Hawkins was released by the Titans last week after five seasons with the team, which drafted him in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He has 71 career catches for 771 yards and one touchdown. He had only 5 catches for 62 yards in 2012.
According to the Tennessean, he was slated to make $1.9 million in 2013 before being released.
According to NFL sources, Patriots receiver Julian Edelman is in a walking boot after reinjuring his right foot. It was a break in his right foot that led to the 26-year-old being placed on injured reserve in December.
Edelman will miss the on-field organized team activities New England is holding in the coming weeks; one source said there is an outside chance he will be able to participate in minicamp June 11-13, but it would be on a limited basis.
A seventh-round draft pick in 2009, Edelman was a free agent this year but returned to New England after signing a one-year deal.
He has missed 16 of 64 regular-season games in his four seasons as a Patriot, but when healthy, he is one of the better punt returners in the NFL.
Former Patriots linebackers Ted Bruschi and Rod Shoate were named to the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame class by the National Football Foundation, an honor shared by 10 other players and two coaches.
Bruschi, a defensive end at Arizona from 1992-95, played a pivotal role in the "Desert Swarm" defense. He finished his college career with an FBS-record 52 sacks and was a two-time All-American and the 1995 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year before being selected by the Patriots in the third round of the 1996 NFL draft.
Shoate, who died in 1999, played with the Patriots from 1975-81. He was a two-time first-team All-American at Oklahoma and helped the Sooners to a perfect season and national championship in 1974. He played part of his college career under Chuck Fairbanks, the late former Patriots coach. Shoate was picked by the Patriots in the second round of the 1975 draft.
“We could not be more proud to announce the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said foundation chairman Archie Manning in a statement. “These players and coaches are some of the greatest to have ever participated in our sport, and we offer our most sincere congratulations to each of them for this incredible achievement."
Here is the full list of honorees:
Ted Brown – TB, North Carolina State (1975-78)
Tedy Bruschi – DE, Arizona (1992-95)
Ron Dayne – RB, Wisconsin (1996-99)
Tommie Frazier – QB, Nebraska (1992-95)
Jerry Gray – DB, Texas (1981-84)
Steve Meilinger – E, Kentucky (1951-53)
Orlando Pace – OT, Ohio State (1994-96)
Rod Shoate (deceased) – LB, Oklahoma (1972-74)
Percy Snow – LB, Michigan State (1986-89)
Vinny Testaverde – QB, Miami, Fla. (1982, 1984-86)
Don Trull – QB, Baylor (1961-63)
Danny Wuerffel – QB, Florida (1993-96)
Wayne Hardin – 118-74-5 (61.2%); Navy (1959-64) and Temple (1970-82)
Bill McCartney – 93-55-5 (62.4%); Colorado (1982-94)
The 12 players and two coaches selected came from a national ballot of 77 candidates.
The Patriots signed 19 rookie free agents before the start of rookie minicamp Friday and Saturday, and two were released Monday: running back Quentin Hines and linebacker Ian Sluss.
Hines spent the 2012 season at Akron, with 35 carries for 194 yards (5.5-yard average) and one touchdown. He began his college career at Cincinnati.
The Patriots designated Hines as waived/injured, meaning he could be claimed by another club, but if not, he reverts to the team's injured reserve. Hines tweeted that he tore his labrum during rookie camp, an announcement that surely will not go over well with Bill Belichick.
Sluss was named Portland State's most valuable player last fall after making 104 tackles, four interceptions, and four fumble recoveries.
If Bill Belichick's drafting of three of Greg Schiano's former Rutgers players and signing a fourth as an undrafted rookie weren't proof enough of the respect the two have for each other, here's another example:
Members of Schiano's Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff will travel to Gillette Stadium next week to meet with Belichick and members of his staff.
According to Don Banks of Sports Illustrated, the two sides will talk about coaching topics and techniques.
Banks writes of the visit:
Though a Bucs official declined to comment on Schiano and part of his staff visiting New England, a league source characterized the session as one in which the Tampa contingent would learn from Belichick and his staff some scheduling details. The two parties will discuss how the Patriots set up their calendar, how to best approach and organize the preseason, deal with the bye-week schedule and organize various practice schedules. In other words, they're talking about the logistics of running a team, rather than any in-depth discussion of X's and O's.
The meeting is not against NFL rules, but it would seem unorthodox, particularly since the Patriots and Buccaneers will face one another in Week 3 of the regular season and Week 2 of the preseason.
Belichick has done something similar at least one other time in his Patriots tenure, so this is not unprecedented.
Belichick recommended Schiano to the Glazer family, which owns the Buccaneers, last year when they were searching for a head coach to replace Raheem Morris. Next week's meeting could help Schiano keep the job for as long as possible.
FOXBOROUGH -- Patriots rookies and undrafted free agents got their first taste of the Gillette Stadium field Friday, walking out with eyes wide and grins wider. They were greeted by a throng of reporters on their first full day as members of the team.
"I'm just happy for the opportunity," said Armond Armstead, the defensive lineman who last played in the Canadian Football League. "Just glad they gave me the opportunity to play in the NFL. And I'm just going to approach it every day and work hard and take advantage of the opportunities I'm given."
That sentiment was shared by his new teammates.
The Patriots brought in 19 rookie free agents Friday and five more players who were not under contract to join the draft picks for rookie minicamp. For those selected in the draft, even the seventh-rounders, that means the competition will be high.
"It's a great opportunity," said defensive lineman Michael Buchanan, who was drafted 226th overall. "I think it provides a lot of competition and I think it forces everybody to work hard and take every day seriously."
When undrafted cornerback Brandon Jones was signed, he became the fourth rookie from Rutgers on the team. Fellow rookie Duron Harmon, his former teammate at Rutgers, believes Jones can make the team.
"He told me, 'I'm coming up there with ya'll,' " Harmon said. "I was excited. I was like, 'You know what you can do. Basically come up, play hard, and if everything goes right, you're gonna be on the team.' Because he's a good player and he works hard.
"I'm excited for him. I know he has a chance to make the squad. That's why coach [Bill] Belichick brought him up. He didn't bring him up just for a body. He brought him up because he knows he has a chance to make the squad."
Not only are Jones, Harmon, Logan Ryan, and Steve Beauharnais all Rutgers players, they're all Labor Studies majors. It's difficult to stop connecting the four together.
"I mean, you can talk about it," Harmon said. "It is what it is. Man, we're all very close. We're basically like the same people. You could say we're all brothers and we all do the same things. These are really my brothers. I would do anything for these guys. I love 'em to death. I love 'em like they came out of my own mother's womb."
Ryan asserted as much.
"I'm sure you will," Ryan said. "But we're going to keep it real simple with you. I don't think we're here by coincidence. I feel like we're all talented players. And we're just trying to get adjusted. We prepare and work very hard.
"Speaking for myself, I'm just trying to get myself adjusted as quickly as possible and make sure I become a Patriot for a very long time."
Beauharnais, an inside linebacker, will have to focus on classwork after the weekend of rookie activities. He was doing geography work and writing an essay on the culture of New Jersey when he got word he was drafted by the Patriots.He still has finals to take.
"I just focus on the task at hand," Beauharnais said. "Right now I'm here, I'm learning as much as I can, absorbing it like a sponge, just doing the best I can here. When I go back home, I probably have to switch gears to go back to the classroom."
For all of the new players, this weekend marks the shift to becoming a professional.
"The celebration stopped Saturday when I got to see a whole bunch of my friends get an opportunity," Ryan said. "A whole bunch of my friends got an opportunity along with me. And then I sent a text out to those guys and said, 'It's time to work.' And we kind of got over it, and Monday we were back to work."
FOXBOROUGH -- This is the beginning for the 2013 rookie class. And right now, it's all about baby steps.
The Patriots are hosting 28 rookies and first-year players under contract, as well as a handful of other rookies and veterans who are working out for the team as part of rookie minicamp. That group includes Canadian Football League signees Armond Armstead and Jason Vega, who have been at Gillette Stadium the past two weeks. But before the team implements the full breadth of its playbook, let alone discuss concepts, they'll address the logistics of moving to New England and becoming professional athletes.
"Obviously we have a lot of information to give them in every area of football and all of the transitioning it takes to become a professional athlete and most cases for guys moving to this part of the country," Belichick said. "We have a lot of ground to cover but I think it's a group that seems attentive and eager. Like a lot of groups at this time of year, this group of guys is a pretty similar group to ones we've had in the past. So we'll just take it day by day."
The Patriots signed 19 rookie free agents on Friday, giving Belichick 90 bodies to work with in training camp. But the veteran coach noted that other small moves would be made to ensure the team can practice efficiently.
Also of note:
- The new Patriots selected their numbers last night. Second round pick Jamie Collins -- the Patriots' first pick of the 2013 draft -- will wear No. 91. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson will wear No. 17 while Josh Boyce will wear No. 82.
The other numbers for draft picks: Logan Ryan (26), Duron Harmon (30), Michael Buchanan (99), and Steve Beauharnais (45).
Rookie free agent signing T.J. Moe will wear No. 84, Deion Branch's old number. Kenbrell Thompkins, a rookie free agent receiver from Cincinnati, will wear No. 85, Brandon Lloyd's old number.
The Patriots announced the signing of 19 rookie free agents, bringing the team's roster to a full 90 players.
Among the players signed:
Ryan Allen, P, Louisiana Tech
Ben Bartholomew, FB, Tennessee
Dewayne Cherrington, DL, Mississippi St.
Kannorris Davis, S, Troy
Elvis Fisher, OL, Missouri
Brandon Ford, TE, Clemson
Cory Grissom, DL, South Florida
Quentin Hines, RB, Akron
Brandon Jones, CB, Rutgers
Josh Kline, OL, Kent State
Chris McDonald, OL, Michigan St.
TJ Moe, WR, Missouri
Stephon Morris, CB, Penn State
Ian Sluss, LB, Portland State
Matt Stankiewitch, OL, Penn State
Zach Sudfield, TE, Nevada
Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, Cincinnati
Joe Vellano, DL, Maryland
Mike Zupancic, LS, Eastern Michigan
When the NFL draft concludes, the Patriots arguably do some of their best work of the offseason.
After South Carolina tight end Justice Cunningham was selected with the final pick of the 2013 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts -- ergo dubbed Mr. Irrelevant -- the Patriots wasted no time burning up the phones looking to sign rookie free agents and fill out the team’s 90-man roster allotment. The process of signing and securing rookie free agents has been a particularly fruitful endeavor. New England is one of the few teams in the league with a strong track record of identifying those who are talented and yet overlooked -- and then developing them into role players.
Before this class of rookie free agents was added to the pool, the Patriots roster included 10 players who came to the team undrafted or as first-year free agents. That includes quality contributors in the last two years like defensive lineman Justin Francis and running back Brandon Bolden, and more seasoned veterans like offensive lineman Ryan Wendell, linebacker Dane Fletcher and defensive tackle Kyle Love. But there’s been plenty more that have worked out well for the team in spurts (Sterling Moore) and have moved on. And there are others (i.e. Kyle Arrington) who somehow made their way to the Patriots and have found themselves to be a valuable addition.
“I think that’s been an important part of our team through the years,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said last week. “Once again, last year we had several players either make our team or make our practice squad or in a couple cases, some combination of both. Maybe they were on one or the other for part of the year, but other guys came in that weren’t drafted and contributed to our team, like [Marcus] Forston, like [Brandon] Bolden, Justin Francis and other guys like that in the past – the Brian Hoyers and the Mike Wrights, you can go right on down the list. So that’s still an important time in the team building process.”FULL ENTRY
FOXBOROUGH – Growing up in Mississippi, Jamie Collins had a rather generalized view of the people in New England.
As Patriots owner Robert Kraft tells it, “Coming from Southern Mississippi, he said, ‘I know those people up in New England are bankers.' "
On Thursday at Gillette Stadium, the big defensive end donned what Kraft deemed "his best banker's suit" and was presented with a No. 1 Patriots jersey as the team’s first pick in the NFL draft.
“It’s our pleasure to introduce Jamie Collins,” Kraft said. “We want to welcome him to New England and we’re excited to start off the season.”
Last Thursday, the Patriots traded their first-round pick (29th overall) to the Minnesota Vikings for four later picks, one of which was the 52d overall pick (the 20th in the second round), which they used on Collins.
“For us, this was a nondescript draft class,” Kraft said. “There were no big names, no big schools, no career records. But we hope it parallels a couple past successful drafts, where we had two tight ends in 2010 [Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez], and in 2011 we had two halfbacks with [Stevan] Ridley and [Shane] Vereen.
“It’s a pretty exciting time for us because doing this today really means the start of the new season.”
Kraft said the Patriots were particularly drawn to Collins because of his mental toughness and character.
“Here’s a young man who lost both his parents by the time he was 6,” Kraft said of the 23-year-old Collins. “He’s just a very wonderful and charming young man to talk to.
"He’s had a certain resiliency a lot of young people don’t have and see, and I think he’s really appreciative of the opportunity he has to be here.”
Just a year ago, another defensive end, Chandler Jones, was standing where Collins stood. The Patriots selected the 6-5 Jones out of Syracuse with the 21st overall pick.
Jones, who had 45 tackles and six sacks in his rookie campaign, is excited to work with Collins.
“I just met Jamie two seconds ago and said, ‘Good luck.’ He’s a cool guy,” Jones said. “Every question that he has, or whatever difficulty I had, I’m going to definitely share it with him.
“After we picked him, I looked him up on YouTube, and he looks like a very phenomenal player. I’m excited to be out here with him and we’ll see him in August.”
Jones said his advice to Collins will be to maintain consistency.
“That’s one thing I had to adapt to coming from college,” Jones said. “There’ll be times when you have a good day at practice, and you’ll be blah the next day.
"So just being consistent, coming out and doing your job every time, just to prove to those coaches that you can play in the NFL, so put me on the field.”
Jones is looking forward to working with Collins and is eager to get back on the field after last season’s 28-13 loss in the AFC Championship game to the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
“I’m getting excited,” Jones said. “There really isn’t an offseason.
"Even though you try to unplug from the game and get your mind off of it, you’re always thinking about what you could’ve done that play or that game.
"Physically, there’s definitely a resting factor but mentally, you’re always thinking about football.”
Collins, who will be made available to the media Friday with the rest of the draft picks, got started Thursday at the Patriots rookie-camp, which runs through the weekend. According to Kraft, he will have his work cut out for him, with many starters returning.
“Of course, everyone thinks they had a great draft and improved their team," said Kraft. "None of us know for a few years.
“But when you think about our team, I think we have more returning starters – 22 of our 24 starters are returning -- It’s going to be tough for young people to make this team.
"So I think there will be good spirit, good competition, and it’s such a fun time.”