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Patriots will reportedly check out running back Michael Bush

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 31, 2014 10:52 PM

The Patriots are set to host free agent running back Michael Bush, according to a report from NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

Former #Bears RB Michael Bush is set to visit the #Patriots, source says. Still trying to find that RB after Blount, Moreno signed.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 1, 2014

After LeGarrette Blount signed a 2-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, it appears the Patriots are looking to fill his role on the team right away.

Bush, 29, fits the mold of Blount. As a bigger back, standing 6-2 and weighing 245 pounds, he has some considerable size to him. (Blount is 6 feet, 250 pounds.) He spent the past two seasons in Chicago, rushing for 197 yards and three touchdowns on 63 carries in 2013. His best years came in Oakland, where he ran for a career-high 977 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011, his last season with the Raiders.

More on Vince Wilfork's contract

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 29, 2014 01:31 PM
032914vincewilfork607.jpgPatriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork will be heavily incentivized to play each game next season.Elisa Amendola / AP photo

The details of Vince Wilfork's new 3-year, $22.5 million deal with the Patriots are starting to emerge.

Wilfork's contract includes a number of incentive clauses, including a $500,000 salary bump if he plays 70 percent of the team's defensive snaps and the Patriots make the Top 10 in scoring defense. Wilfork received a $1.3 million signing bonus, has a $1.3 million base salary, a $300,000 weight clause, and a $200,000 workout bonus.

Wow ... The Vince Wilfork deal is complicated. In 2014: $1.3M to sign, $1.3M base, $300K weight clause, $200K workout bonus ...

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 29, 2014

But there are other triggers in the contract. The Patriots defensive tackle would receive $500,000 for being on the team's 53-man roster for the first game of the 2014 season and then $87,500 for each subsequent game on the 46-man roster.

If Wilfork only reached 50 percent of the team's defensive snaps, he'd receive $500,000. For 60 percent, $1.25 million; 70 percent, $2 million; and $2.5 million for 70 percent and a divisional playoff appearance. If he reaches the maximum, or 70 percent of the team's defensive snaps and the Patriots are a Top 10 scoring defense, he can make up to $8 million, according to NFL Network's Albert Breer.

Then, Patriots have a $4M roster due Day 1 of the 2015 League Year. $3M base for '15, $500K in per-game bonuses, $300K weight, $200K workout

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 29, 2014

In 2015, the incentives continue. He has $4 million roster bonus at the beginning of the 2015 league year and a $3 million base salary. But he'll also have $500,000 per game bonuses, a $300,000 weight clause, and a $200,000 workout bonus, according to Breer.

In 2016, he has a $5 million base salary, $300,000 weight clause, $200,000 workout bonus, and $500,000 per game roster bonuses.

It appears Wilfork is heavily incentivized to play each and every single game coming off a torn right Achilles' tendon. What's more, the Patriots have a serious decision to make after the 2014 season with regards to his future. That $4 million roster bonus, due on the first day of the 2015 league year, will hang over his head.

Zuri Berry can be reached at zberry@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @zuriberry and on Google+.

LeGarrette Blount's contract details

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 28, 2014 05:05 PM

Former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount got a 2-year, $3.85 million contract from the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

Pittsburgh's 2-year deal with RB LeGarrette Blount is worth a total of $3.85M. Coach Tomlin was seeking a power back and he has one now

— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 28, 2014

And according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, he received a $950,000 signing bonus, eclipsing his base salary in 2013 of $680,000.

Bye bye, Blount: LeGarrette Blount signs with Pittsburgh Steelers

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 28, 2014 03:29 PM

461896283[1]blount.jpg

Former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount has agreed to two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The deal was first reported by the Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.

The veteran running backís stock rose this winter after ending the 2013 season on a strong note, rushing for 189 yards and two touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills in Week 17. He followed that up with a historic performance in the AFC Divisional Round against the Indianapolis Colts, rushing for 166 yards and four touchdowns. The Patriots had interest in re-signing Blount, according to a source, but the Steelers were more proactive in trying to sign him.

Blount, 27, finished the 2013 regular season with 772 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. But most importantly, he wrested away the leading tailback role from Stevan Ridley, who lost four fumbles over the course of the season.

The Patriots have Ridley, Shane Vereen, and Brandon Bolden at running back now.

Blount made $680,000 in 2013 after being traded from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Jeff Demps and a seventh round draft choice.

Ridley, in an interview with NFL Network two weeks ago, said he was ready to take back the role of the lead running back if Blount werenít to return.

ďI know I had the opportunity last year, I kind of slipped up on that,Ē Ridley said. ďBut I think coach is going to come back to me, heís going to put it in my hands, and itís gonna be all up to me, what I do with it.Ē

Ridley added: ďIíll have a group of guys with me though. Itís not going to be just me alone. Shane Vereen is exceptional, catching the ball and running as well out the backfield. Brandon Bolden, who contributes as well heavily on special teams, but heís also in there as well. Those are three guys I know right now are going to be there for sure.

ďHopefully Blount rolls back in. But if not, we have a core group of guys that are young, we know how each other work, and we like the back field that we have. So Iím going to step up and do my job as a player and try and develop into a leader that I need to be for this team to be successful in this upcoming season.Ē

[Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images]

Back on the line: Patriots re-sign center Ryan Wendell

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 28, 2014 03:24 PM

With the restructuring of Vince Wilfork's contract, the Patriots were freed up to make additional moves in the free agency market.

It turns out, that extra money ó reportedly at more than $5 million ó will in part go to center Ryan Wendell, who re-signed with the team Friday.

Wendell agreed to a 2-year deal worth $8.5 million, according to the Boston Globe's Ben Volin. He can earn up to $1.3 million in incentives.

Vince Wilfork reportedly signs new 3-year deal

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 27, 2014 05:34 PM
032714vincewilfork609-2.jpgPatriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork has reportedly agreed to a new 3-year deal. Elise Amendola / AP file photo

New England Patriots defensive captain Vince Wilfork has broken his silence after reportedly coming to an agreement on a new 3-year deal.

The nose tackle, writing on Twitter, said he was close to ensuring he would retire a Patriot.

"Itís been hard to remain quiet and let things take its course but it has been the best thing to do,Ē Wilfork wrote. ďNegotiations are never easy especially when you have a 10 year history with a team and more importantly relationships. For those who have supported me I thank you,Ē adding, ďfor those who have called me every name in the book I thank you too.

ďMy intentions have never changed,Ē he wrote. ď10 years ago my goal was to retire a patriot and as I sit here typing this I am closer to achieving my goal. I look forward to getting back to football and helping my team compete and have a chance at winning a Super Bowl.Ē

My thoughts pic.twitter.com/MUW3I3ml4Y

— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) March 27, 2014

According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter, Wilfork has restructured his contract to a 3-year, $22.5 million deal. Wilfork was going into the final year of a 5-year, $40 million contract in which he was going to be paid a $7.5 million base salary in 2014 and count as $11.6 million against the cap.

With compensatory picks in, Patriots draft selections finalized

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 24, 2014 09:36 PM

The Patriots were awarded a compensatory pick in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft Monday. Thatíll bring their total draft haul to eight players, with two selections in the fourth and sixth rounds.

Why is this important? Well, outside the fact that Tom Brady was himself a compensatory pick, there isnít much to draw from the historical selection of these particular draft selections during Bill Belichickís tenure.

No, instead, whatís important is that all of the Patriotsí draft picks have been allotted. Here are their picks. And for fun we added the teamís compensatory picks since 2000.

Patriots 2014 picks (Round - overall choice selection)
1- 29
2 - 62
3 - 93
4 - 130
4 - 140 (compensatory)
6 - 198 (from Philadelphia)
6 - 206
7 - 244

Compensatory picks

2000
OT Greg Robinson-Randall (fourth round)
QB Tom Brady (sixth round)
DT David Nugent (sixth round)
LB Casey Tisdale (seventh round)

2001
S Hakim Akbar (fifth round)
CB Leonard Myers (sixth round)
LB T.J. Turner (seventh round)

2002
NONE

2003
NONE

2004
NONE

2005
LB Ryan Claridge (fifth round)
TE Andy Stokes (seventh round)

2006
NONE

2007
OT Clint Oldenburg (fifth round)
RB Justise Hairston (sixth round)
OT Corey Hilliard (sixth round)
OG/C Mike Elgin (seventh round)

2008
NONE

2009
NONE

2010
OL Ted Larsen (sixth round)
DL/LB Brandon Deaderick (seventh round)
DL Kade Weston (seventh round)
QB Zac Robinson (seventh round)

2011
NONE

2012
NONE

2013
NONE

Zuri Berry can be reached at zberry@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @zuriberry and on Google+.

Patriots reportedly in the hunt for Maurice Jones-Drew. But what about LeGarrette Blount?

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 24, 2014 04:58 PM
The Patriots are reportedly interested in running
back Maurice Jones-Drew. (Stephen Morton / AP photo)

The Patriots have interest in former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, according to a report from the New York Daily News.

Jones-Drew, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Jaguars, has interest from the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Pittsburgh Steelers as well, according to the Daily News report. He visited the Steelers a week ago but left without a contract offer.

This comes at a time when Patriots free agent running back LeGarrette Blount has also drawn interest from the Steelers. He was scheduled to make a visit with the team on Friday, but it was pushed back until after the league's annual meetings, which started Monday in Orlando, Fla.

Jones-Drew, 29, is coming off his worst season in the NFL. He averaged 3.4 yards per carry on 234 attempts, totaling 803 yards and five touchdowns. He caught 43 passes for 314 yards. In his peak years, between 2009 and 2011, he averaged 1,440 yards rushing and 4.5 yards per carry, as well as 43 catches and 355 receiving yards. He was coming off a foot injury that limited him to only six games in 2012 before he was placed on injured reserve.

The veteran running back is highly respected by Patriots coach Bill Belichick. In 2009, he called Jones-Drew one of the best running backs in the league.

"I think he can do it all," Belichick said. "He's returned kicks. He's good in pass protection. [He] catches the ball very well and has a good feel in the passing game. ... And, of course, in the running game, he can run inside, he can run outside, he can run with power, he can run with speed, he can jump cut and has good vision. He can see those lanes inside. He's got good balance. He's hard to knock off his feet, breaks a lot of tackles and pushes the pile forward for extra yards when he's carrying the ball. He's a powerful guy as well as an elusive player, so he's tough."

If you're asking whether Jones-Drew will be an upgrade over Blount, who really blossomed at the end of last season, the answer is no. At 27, Blount is in the prime of his career and hasn't had the kind of devastating injuries Jones-Drew has had. He's played only five NFL seasons and carried the ball 1,229 times less, the kind of tread that says he has some good years left.

But with the Patriots' current cap situation, reportedly having $6.475 million left available for 2014, Blount is likely priced out unless the team makes some headway with Vince Wilfork, who is at odds with the team right now. Jones-Drew, who had a base salary of $4.95 million last year, is likely a good substitute -- at the right price. He was reportedly looking for $3.5 million a year this offseason, but even that is apparently too high, according to the Daily News.

Could Patriots fans live with the idea of Jones-Drew teamed up with Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, and Brandon Bolden? It's a possibility. Jones-Drew can certainly pick whether or not New England is the place for him. But only if the money is right.

Zuri Berry can be reached at zberry@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @zuriberry and on Google+.

Julian Edelman considers himself a New Englander now

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 20, 2014 03:35 PM
After five years with the Patriots, Julian Edelman sees
himself more as a New Englander now. (Jim Davis / Globe Staff)

Ask Julian Edelman what it means to be courted by his hometown team, the San Francisco 49ers, and he won't shy away from acknowledging a childhood fantasy passed up.

"That was like a little dream right there," Edelman said in a conference call with reporters Thursday. "Iím not gonna lie. It was very surreal."

The Patriots' top receiver was courted by coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers while on his free agency tour. But he ended up re-signing with New England on a four-year, $17 million deal.

"Itís good to have a little security in knowing that a team believes in you enough to pay you back and stuff," he said. "A little security on how many years Iíll be here. Iíve really never been in that situation. I always felt that if I had a bad practice I could potentially be cut the next day."

The signing process was difficult for Edelman because there was, as he put it, a real possibility that he would not return after having grown fond of the region, his teammates, and coaches. Visiting San Francisco, as a Bay Area native from Redwood City, Calif., his family was inundated with calls about him possibly becoming a 49er.

"I ultimately felt that the best fit for me and my skill set and my career was back in Boston," he said. "That was my home growing up, but like I keep on saying, Foxborough is home."

Asked if he is a full-fledged New Englander now, Edelman took it in stride.

"You know, I spend most of my adult life out [in Boston]. I can tell you right now, I know Boston better than I know San Francisco. I vacation, I go to the Cape more than I go to Lake Tahoe. I guess I am a New Englander when it comes down to it. But itís pretty crazy to think. When you look at it close, I donít know the city of San Francisco that well. I lived 30 miles south. I didnít go to the city that often as an adult. Now in Boston, Iím there three times a week. I guess I would say Iím a New Englander."

And then there's the matter of Tom Brady, his confidant, next-door neighbor in the locker room, and mentor.

"He let it be known that heíd love to have me back and be part of this team," Edelman said, adding "he also told me that Iíd have to take care of myself and my family."

After five seasons working together, the two have become close, Edelman said, crediting Brady with helping him become the professional he is today and mentoring him through the free agency process.

"It would be very tough to leave him because he is my dog."

Aqib Talib: Patriots' contract offer was 'shaky'

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff March 20, 2014 11:11 AM

In an interview with Sports Illustrated's Peter King, former Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib classified some of the language in New England's recent contract offer as "shaky," perhaps a small part of the reason why Talib accepted the Denver Broncos' offer. Six years and $55 million were probably a big part of the reason.

"I definitely had an offer from the Patriots," Talib told MMQB. "But there was language in there that definitely was a little shaky compared to Denver's offer. The Patriots are a great organization. I loved my time there. I loved playing for Bill. He's a great leader. I'll be able to tell my kids I played for Bill Belichick someday and I was Tom Brady's teammate. Really, it's just a dream I'm experiencing, when two great organizations want you like this."

Despite the mammoth amount Denver is paying for a guy who has had an injury history, the fact that the Broncos can escape out from under the deal after only three years is of no concern to Talib.

"I don't really get into that part of the business too much, how much of a contract is guaranteed and whether I'll make it all the way through. I hope I stay here for six years. Hopefully I see all six years, because that means I'm playing well. But for me, I just come and play as hard as I can. It's the same for me, thinking about this season, as it was last year, when I was in the last year of my contract. As a player, I don't think you can worry about that too much."

The Patriots, of course, replaced the free agent with Darrelle Revis, so it's probably fair to say that they're not worried too much either.

Patriots sign long snapper Charley Hughlett

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 19, 2014 04:57 PM

Danny Aiken has some competition.

The Patriots have signed long snapper Charley Hughlett to the team. Hughlett entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2012 out of Central Florida where he was the long snapper for four years.

Aiken, a member of the Patriots since 2011, was re-signed March 7 on a one-year deal. He was the first of the Patriots' free agents to re-sign before the free agency period opened.

Brandon LaFell chose the Patriots for Tom Brady, opportunities, and to win

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 19, 2014 04:20 PM
Brandon LaFell is excited about the prospect of
working with Tom Brady. (Chuck Burton / AP photo)

New Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell addressed the media Wednesday, providing his first comments upon joining the team after signing a three-year, $9 million deal.

Not surprisingly, the 27-year-old receiver, who also had interest from the New York Jets, cited the Patriots' winning culture as one of the main draws. But he was much more specific when it came to catching passes from Tom Brady, who he implied was light-years ahead of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

"Because I had a chance to play with a Hall of Fame quarterback," LaFell said. "One day, Cam [Newton] will be there, probably, but heís not there now. And I feel like there was a better chance to come up here and get more balls and win up here, than with Carolina.

"Nothing against those guys, itís a great organization. Those guys are going to win. But itís proven up here. We won in the last year in Carolina, these guys have won up here for the last 10-plus years. So why not come to a winning organization?"

When breaking down film last year in preparation for the game against the Patriots, LaFell saw a quality about Brady's game that he apparently wasn't seeing with Newton.

"Those receivers just have to put their hands up," LaFell said. "No matter what route they ran, no matter what kind of guy was on them, they just had to put their hands up. The ball was always in perfect placement. So if youíve got a guy that places the ball like he does year to year, itís great."

Lafell is not worried about the Patriots' high learning curve. The Panthers, he said, went to the line of scrimmage with two or three plays ready to go. He expects the post-snap adjustments to be business as usual. But he also addressed the competition he will face on the roster. He's expected to compete with Aaron Dobson as an outside receiver.

"When youíre changing teams, you always think about the guys you've got to compete with and your chance against the other guys. And having the ability to play with good guys like [Julian] Edelman, a guy that caught 100 plus balls last year Ö and [Danny] Amendola, a guy that when heís healthy, heís pretty good.

"So I thought about that and that played a lot into my decision. I wanted to come be around a group of guys that put in a bunch of work and got it in as good as me."

UPDATE: 5:44 p.m.

LaFell took to Twitter to clarify -- at least somewhat -- his comments on Newton.

U right Cam didn't make me drop balls nor did I say he did. So please continue on with your day thank you

— Jody Breeze (@Blafell1) March 19, 2014

He promptly added that he'll be taking a break from the social network.

Gonna take a month break from twitter y'all take it easy

— Jody Breeze (@Blafell1) March 19, 2014

Details of Julian Edelman's contract emerge

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 18, 2014 01:15 PM

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman received a decent sum to return to New England, according to a report by Fox Sports 1's Mike Garafolo.

Edelman's contract is for four years at $17 million, with $8 million guaranteed. He has $2 million in incentives, according to Garafolo.

With a base salary that averages out to $4.25 million a year over the life of the contract, his deal compares favorably with that of Danny Amendola, the Patriots' other top wide receiver. Amendola signed a five-year, $28.5 million contract last offseason, which averages out to $5.7 million a year. Amendola's cap hit for 2014 will be $4.575 million.

Brandon LaFell officially signs with Patriots

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 17, 2014 05:15 PM

Former Carolina Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell officially joined the Patriots on Monday.

LaFell, according to reports, agreed to a three-year, $11 million deal with the Patriots on Saturday. He joins cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner among the team's free agent signees.

Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis just as excited as you are to be teamed up

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 17, 2014 02:32 PM

If you're excited about the Patriots' revamped secondary, boasting cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, who are both now officially signed with the team, you're not alone.

In back to back conference calls on Monday, Revis and then Browner relayed their thoughts on joining the New England Patriots to help bolster the team's defensive backs group.

"Itís going to be fun," said Browner, on playing with Revis. "Not just him, but a lot of the other DBs up there. Theyíre very good football players. [Devin] McCourtyís a good football player himself. Actually Revis is one of those guys that Iíve studied. Heís a really good technician, so to say. He always seemed like he just has a good base, good balance in his back pedal. So itíll be fun to play with someone like that. Thereíll always be someone to push me. Sort of like what I had with Richard Sherman and those guys, that group up there where we kind of push each other, day in and day out."

Browner later added: "[Revis is] one of the guys that I studied. Across the league, thereís a few guys I like on film. To be able to play with that guy, man, itíll be fun. Heís actually the only guy Iíve actually traded or exchanged a jersey with. Thatís the kind of respect Iíve got for that guyís game. I just look forward to playing alongside him and the rest of those guys in New England."

For Revis, who had 26 teams after him shortly after being cut by the New York Jets, New England just felt right.

"It was a long process and there was a lot of thinking about where do I want to go and where do I want to be," Revis said. "I felt like New England was the best place for me."

For Revis, the prospect of the New England secondary with Browner, McCourty, and Logan Ryan is just as enticing.

"As of right now, Iím just trying to focus on being a Patriot right now," he said. "Everything has happened so fast over the last couple days, so Iím still trying to soak everything in. I know weíve got Brandon [Browner], I know weíve got [Devin] McCourty and Logan Ryan. Weíve got some great talent back there. But as of right now, Iím still trying to soak it in and look at the next step ahead and thatís OTAs right now."

Browner was asked to address his 4-game suspension, but declined to go into detail.

"Iíve said little bit. But I donít want to go in details," he said. "For the simple fact I want to keep that behind me and move on forward from that situation. And like I said earlier, I just want to contribute to the Pats. But what I can say, for the last few months my future has been a in a dark place. Iíve made a few mistakes and thatís one of the mistakes that I regret. But I look forward to righting my wrongs. And Iím blessed at the opportunity to come play in New England and start on a good foot."

The former defensive back with Seattle Seahawks signed a 3-year, $17 million deal. The suspension did not appear to hurt him on the market. After the Patriots, he had a scheduled visit in Washington.

"I was actually fortunate to get a good deal done with them," he said. "And it probably did hinder going anywhere else. But hey, I wound up where I wanna be."

Dane Fletcher signs with Buccaneers

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff March 16, 2014 03:48 PM

Linebacker Dane Fletcher signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, the team reported:

per "@ScottSBucs: Another new Buc! Welcome aboard former Patriots LB Dane Fletcher, who has agreed to a one-year deal."

— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) March 16, 2014

Fletcher would have struggled to find playing time for the Patriots in 2014, but his signing in Tampa is a loss for New England's kicking game. Fletcher led the Patriots with 15 special teams tackles in 2013.

Patriots add wide receiver Brandon LaFell

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 15, 2014 10:47 PM

After a reported visit to New England on Wednesday, the Patriots have come to an agreement with Carolina Panthers free agent wide receiver Brandon LaFell, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

And now Patriots have reached agreement on a three-year deal with former Panthers WR Brandon LaFell, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2014

According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the deal is for three years and $11 million.

The #Patriots are closing in on a deal with Brandon LaFell, according to a source. The deal is expected to be for 3 years and roughly $11M

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2014

LaFell, a four-year NFL veteran out of LSU, caught 49 passes for 627 yards and five touchdowns last season for the Panthers.

At 6-2 and 210 pounds, he's a bigger receiver that can give the Patriots some versatility on the outside, but also play in the slot.

Several teams had shown interest in LaFell, including the New York Jets and Denver Broncos.

The Patriots aren't done in free agency, hosting WR Kenny Britt

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 15, 2014 07:55 PM

After picking up Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, followed by re-signing Julian Edelman, the Patriots are still hard at work in free agency.

New England will host wide receiver Kenny Britt, according to a report by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

WR Kenny Britt, who visited the #Rams today, is heading to New England to visit the #Patriots tomorrow, source says.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2014

Britt, 25, is a 5-year NFL veteran who has spent the entirety of his career with the Tennessee Titans. He only caught 11 passes for 96 yards last year after a career-high 45 receptions for 589 yards and four touchdowns. His most prolific season was in 2010, when he caught 42 passes for 775 yards and nine touchdowns.

The issue with Britt, though, has never been about his talent. He's been a troubled player since he entered the league out of Rutgers, with multiple arrests on his record. He was suspended for one game in 2012 for his run-ins with the police.

The Patriots are obviously kicking the tires here, seeing if there is any value. At 6-3 and 223 pounds, he could push Aaron Dobson as the team's top outside receiver.

Julian Edelman re-signs with the Patriots

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 15, 2014 02:59 PM

Tom Brady will keep his top target Julian Edelman, according to multiple reports.

Edelman came to an agreement to return to the Patriots Saturday after testing the free agent market. He received interest from the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, and Baltimore Ravens.

But ultimately Edelman, a fifth-year NFL veteran and converted quarterback, decided to come back to New England. He caught 105 passes last season for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. It was his most prolific season since he had been drafted by the team in the seventh round in 2009.

Edelman tweeted this Saturday afternoon:

Foxboro is home. Excited to be back. #grind

— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) March 15, 2014

Brandon Browner: 'Couldn't ask for a better place'

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 15, 2014 11:49 AM
The Patriots have officially signed cornerback Brandon
Browner. (Scott Eklund / AP photo)

The Patriots officially announced the signing of cornerback Brandon Browner Saturday morning.

Browner, who spoke with the team's in-house media, said he "couldn't ask for a better place to come play football."

The four-year NFL veteran also said he was happy to play for Bill Belichick.

"Oh most definitely," Browner said. "Heard a lot of great things about him, so Iím happy to be here.

"Thereís a lot of great things about this organization. Thatís part of the reason why I chose to come here."

The team has still not officially announced the signing of cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Cornerback Brandon Browner agrees to 3-year, $17 million deal with the Patriots

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff March 14, 2014 07:15 PM
Free agent cornerback Brandon Browner announced that he has agreed to a deal with the Patriots.

Today, I am proud to announce that I am a New England Patriot. I am honored that the Patriots are (cont) http://t.co/mJmk9yN7Jo

— Brandon Browner (@bbrowner27) March 14, 2014

According to ESPN, Browner agreed to a 3-year, $17 million deal to come to join New England's backfield.

Here is the full text of Browner's tweet:

Today, I am proud to announce that I am a New England Patriot. I am honored that the Patriots are making me part of their legendary organization, and am grateful for the opportunity Mr. Kraft, Coach Belichick, Nick Caserio and the entire team have given me. I intend to diligently work with the same passion and dedication that I have displayed since coming into the NFL to uphold the great traditions and qualities that are embodied by the Patriots. I would be remiss if I didnít thank the Seattle Seahawks for giving a CFL player the once in-a-lifetime opportunity to return to the NFL, making a young boy's dream come true. To Coach Pete Carroll, GM John Schneider, John Idzik, Coach Richard, Rocky Seto, the LOB, my teammates, the training staff, the equipment guys the Seahawks organization as a whole and most importantly the 12th Man, I say thank you for everything you have done for myself and my family. I am a truly blessed person.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound Browner must sit out the first four games of the 2014 regular season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Browner is the second big-name player to be signed to the Patriots defensive backfield this offseason after Darrelle Revis agreed to a deal with New England on Wednesday.

ESPNís Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network tweeted news of the signing on Thursday before Schefter pulled back his report and quoted Brownerís agent, Peter Scaffer, who said he was still negotiating with ďfour teams and we do not have a deal. We arenít even close.Ē

In 36 career games as a member of the Seahawks, Browner has 10 interceptions and 104 total tackles.

New Jets lineman and Malden native: Pats fans can kick rocks after we win

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff March 14, 2014 03:13 PM

Outside of Malden and Seattle, right tackle Breno Giacomini may best be known recently for being the player the New York Jets breathlessly announced they had signed, even as reports filtered on Twitter Wednesday evening that the Patriots had landed former jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. Timing isナwell, it's something.

But Giacomini, a graduate of Malden High School and former lineman for the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, already seems pretty comfortable in his new environment in the Meadowlands and ready to make a name for himself in the Jets-Patriots rivalry.

"It will definitely be fun after we win that game," Giacomini told Newsday on Friday. "I'll tell my friends and family who are all Patriots fans to go kick some rocks after we win."

Giacomini, who told reporters on a conference call that he grew up a Drew Bledsoe fan, said the Jets are pointed in the right direction despite the moves the Patriots have made in the AFC East this offseason.

"They went 8-8 last year, so they're a few games out," he said. "The main goal would be to win the division first and get a playoff game at home. The defense is pretty good. If you can play defense and run the ball, you can make the playoffs."

Conflicting reports have the Patriots signing cornerback Brandon Browner

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff March 14, 2014 08:29 AM

Is Brandon Browner a Patriot or not?

New England's acquisition of the cornerback was something of a Twitter spat Thursday evening between the NFL Network's Ian Rapaport and ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Source: Ex-#Seahawks CB Brandon Browner has reached a two-year agreement with the #Patriots. Must serve 4-game suspension to start 2014

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2014


Brandon Browner's agent, Peter Schaffer, said his client is in negotiations w/ "four teams and we do not have a deal. We arent even close."

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2014

Brandon Browner has spread the word to those close to him that he has agreed with the #Patriots. Thus, my report that he has agreed.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2014

And on Friday afternoon, the Herald's Jeff Howe tweeted the following update:

Source: Brandon Browner negotiating deal with Patriots, has no plans to leave Foxboro http://t.co/1XHcIVUrNa

— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 14, 2014 FULL ENTRY

A peek at re-signed Patriots TE Michael Hoomanawanui's contract details

Posted by Glenn Yoder, Boston.com Staff March 13, 2014 03:40 PM

Buried in the news about Darrelle Revis coming and Vince Wilfork (possibly) going, New England Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanawanui agreed to stay, signing a new contract with the team. Now we're getting a peek at what the numbers look like for Hooman's pact.

According to the Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider), who doubles as a writer for the National Football Post, it's a two-year deal worth $2.4 million with $1.1 million guaranteed and a $360,000 signing bonus.

Report: Vince Wilfork asks for release from Patriots

Posted by Glenn Yoder, Boston.com Staff March 13, 2014 02:30 PM

Is this the end of an era? Longtime Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork may be moving on, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

#Patriots Pro Bowl DT Vince Wilfork has asked that the team release him after 10 seasons in New England, according to sources.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2014 FULL ENTRY

More details about Revis' contract with the Patriots

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff March 13, 2014 12:39 PM

More details emerged about Darrelle Revisí contract with the New England Patriots Thursday after the cornerback officially signed with the team. According to USA Todayís Tom Pelissero, Revisí $12 million deal for 2014 includes a $10 million signing bonus, $1.5 million salary, and $500,000 in bonuses.

The Patriots also hold a team option on Revis for 2015 worth a total of $20 million in salary and bonuses.

In essence, it seems like the Patriots get Revis at a two-year deal under their control for $32 million, the same amount he would have made under his deal in Tampa Bay before the Buccaneers released him on Wednesday. However, according to the NFL Networkís Albert Breer, his cap number would be around $25 million next season. Revis will only count $7 million toward the cap in 2014.

The 2015 option also eliminated the possibility of the Patriots using the franchise tag on Revis. There is also the possibility that the two sides will work out a more Patriots-friendly long-term deal after the season in lieu of Revis' $20 million price tag.

Will the Patriots roll the dice on CB Brandon Browner?

Posted by Glenn Yoder, Boston.com Staff March 13, 2014 11:15 AM

First Darrelle Revis, now Brandon Browner?

The former Seattle Seahawks cornerback is visiting with the Patriots today, but even if the team signs him, he won't be able to play the first four games of the season due to a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. He was reinstated earlier this month and allowed to begin to meet with teams.

Browner made the Pro Bowl in 2011 while playing with Seattle and last year, he started eight games before sustaining a groin injury. Could he be a buy-low option for the Pats?

Hey, we all know Bill Belichick loves a good reclamation project.

Patriots sign cornerback Darrelle Revis to one year, $12 million deal

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff March 12, 2014 08:31 PM
Revis Island is now located in Foxborough.

The Patriots made a large splash in the free agent market by signing Darrelle Revis to a one-year, $12 million contract Wednesday night, just hours after the five-time Pro Bowl cornerback was released by Tampa Bay after the Buccaneers were unable to trade him. The deal was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Revis, who will turn 29 in July, replaces Aqib Talib, who signed with the Denver Broncos for six years and $57 million on Tuesday. Revis still needs to pass his physical and sign his contract according to Schefter. The one-year deal allows the prized, physical cornerback the opportunity to hit the free-agent market after the 2014 season.

FULL ENTRY

Darrelle Revis cut by Buccaneers. Patriots next?

Posted by Glenn Yoder, Boston.com Staff March 12, 2014 03:34 PM

Well, he's free, thanks to those Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Can the Patriots pick up prized cornerback Darrelle Revis?

The Buccaneers have released Revis, the five-time Pro Bowl cornerback they were unable to trade. The move Wednesday saved the Bucs a $1.5 million bonus that Revis would have been due if he remained on the roster; his salary is $16 million a year. It also freed salary cap space the team intends to use to continue an overhaul of the roster under new coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht.

Revis was obtained in a pre-draft trade from the Jets last spring, a deal that cost the Bucs a first-round pick in 2013, as well as a fourth-rounder this year.

If Revis had remained on Tampa Bayís roster at 4 p.m. Wednesday, he would have been due a $1.5 million bonus and the 2014 pick for the Jets would have become a third-rounder.

Revis was recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee when he joined the Bucs and was given a six-year, $96 million contract. Despite not being 100 percent physically, he appeared in all 16 games and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl last season, when he had two interceptions, a sack and two forced fumbles.

This morning, our Eric Wilbur said Revis is the only option left for the Pats, the lone remedy to appease the bellyaching of fans hurt that Aqib Talib signed with the rival Denver Broncos and that Julian Edelman still isn't back in the fold. Just before Revis was officially cut, a glimpse of hope from an unlikely source, a New York Daily News columnist:

Member of Darrelle Revis camp chimes in on if he thinks cornerback will end up on Patriots (assuming he's cut). "It's going to happen" #nyj

— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) March 12, 2014

So can the Patriots snag Revis? Well, they've been clearing cap room, most recently with today's release of defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga.

Patriots came into the day, officially, with $15,790,286 in cap room. They get another $3.5 million with the release of Sopoaga.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 12, 2014

So now Pats fans wait and hope Bill and Bob do something to give Tom Brady a competitive twilight.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

FULL ENTRY

Guard Shelley Smith set to visit with Patriots Thursday

Posted by Glenn Yoder, Boston.com Staff March 12, 2014 12:35 PM

It's not exactly the kind of news that will get fans excited but the New England Patriots are scheduled to meet with guard Shelley Smith, a target of the New York Giants who spent last season with the St. Louis Rams, according to NJ.com reporter Jordan Raanan.

The #Giants have competition for guard Shelley Smith. He also has a scheduled visit with the Patriots on Thursday. #NFLFreeAgency

— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) March 12, 2014

Smith served in a reserve role last year, starting only two games at right guard, but could provide some insurance if starting center Ryan Wendell leaves in free agency. The Patriots have met or are meeting with outside linebacker Matt Shaughnessy, wide receiver Brandon LaFell, and linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who then took a meeting with Tennessee.

Patriots taking a look at outside linebacker Matt Shaughnessy

Posted by Glenn Yoder, Boston.com Staff March 12, 2014 11:16 AM

The Patriots dance card is getting full -- just maybe not with the partners fans were hoping to see. With wide receiver Brandon LaFell sitting down with the team today and after another chat with linebacker Wesley Woodyard, now outside linebacker Matt Shaughnessy is also paying the Pats a visit, according to Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com.

The Patriots are hosting OLB Matt Shaughnessy on a visit today, per a league source.

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 12, 2014

The Arizona Cardinals made a play to keep the 27-year-old last week after he played all 16 games last season, starting 12.

WR Brandon LaFell visiting Patriots today: Is he New England's Plan B after Julian Edelman?

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 12, 2014 09:15 AM

Free agent wide receiver Brandon LaFell will pay a visit to New England Wednesday, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Carolina free-agent WR Brandon LaFell is visiting today with the New England Patriots, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2014

LaFell, a four-year veteran for the Carolina Panthers, caught 49 passes for 627 yards and five touchdowns last season. It appears, with wide receiver Julian Edelman still on the market, that the Patriots have moved on to their Plan B.

UPDATE: And this... of course.

Jets interested in Panthers free agent WR Brandon LaFell. He's visiting the Patriots today. Broncos also interested. #nyj

— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) March 12, 2014

Aqib Talib agrees to deal with Denver Broncos

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 11, 2014 11:20 PM

031114aqibtalib.jpg

Cornerback Aqib Talib has reportedly signed a new deal with the Denver Broncos. (Elise Amendola / AP photo)

While the Patriots continued to negotiate with Aqib Talib all the way up until Tuesday, it never really felt like the two sides were going to come together.

That feeling was confirmed late Tuesday evening after the 28-year old cornerback agreed to a 6-year, $57 million deal with the Denver Broncos with $26 million guaranteed, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That averages out to $9.5 million per year.

Filed to ESPN: Denver has reached agreement on a 6-year, $57M deal that includes $26M gtd with former Patriots CB Aqib Talib, per sources.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2014

Talib is coming off the best season of his career, proving to be a top-tier cornerback who can shut down some the league's best receivers. He tallied 41 tackles and four interceptions in 2013. But he was hobbled by a number of injuries, including his hip which had limited his availability. He missed only three regular season games in 2013 but was not entirely healthy in countless others.

With Talib off the market, the Patriots can still make a play in the cornerback market. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Antonio Cromartie, and Walter Thurmond are still available. The Patriots could also make a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Darrelle Revis, who has been openly touted on the market for days.

FULL ENTRY

Patriots free agent Dane Fletcher to visit with the Buccaneers

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 11, 2014 04:35 PM

Linebacker Dane Fletcher, who has spent the past four seasons in New England, will visit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday night, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora.

Bucs remain very active, LB Dane Fletcher will start his visit with them tonight

— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 11, 2014

As the Patriots' backup middle linebacker, Fletcher played sparsely through the past two seasons after recovering from an ACL tear. He missed the entire 2012 season and was a core special teams member in 2013 while contributing on dime and nickel packages on defense. He totaled 26 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble in 2013.

Brandon Spikes thanks -- and ribs -- Patriots on his way out

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 11, 2014 04:09 PM
Brandon Spikes ends his tenure with the Patriots less than
amicably. (Bob Leverone / AP photo)

Brandon Spikes knew he wasn't long for New England.

The veteran linebacker had seen his snaps decrease on passing downs and had bumped heads with management, especially after he was placed on injured reserve this past season with a knee injury. That move, Spikes and his agent have said, was debatable.

But his issues went further with the Patriots. He was often seen as one of the Patriots players that were muzzled, unable to speak freely, so he avoided reporters as much as possible for fear of retribution. He had a gift of gab, which often led to trouble on Twitter with the organization.

On Tuesday, as the NFL free agency period opened, Spikes gave his thanks to the team on the social network. But he also hinted at the underlying issues he had that kept him from enjoying himself.

Itís been real, itís been fun. But it hasnít been real fun lol. Thank u to the cities of New England & @Patriots for an amazing run. #PoWwW

— brandon spikes (@BrandonSpikes55) March 11, 2014

In 16 games for the Patriots in 2013, Spikes tallied 86 tackles, good for third on the team.

Julian Edelman will continue to negotiate with Patriots

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 11, 2014 03:00 PM

The Patriots let their top wide receiver leave in free agency last offseason, and may do the same this year, too.

Julian Edelman has not been able to reach a deal on a new contract and will shop his services to other teams when free agency begins at 4 p.m. today, a league source told the Globe.

FULL ENTRY

Patriots unable to come to deal with Julian Edelman

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 11, 2014 02:25 PM

The Patriots were unable to reach an agreement with wide receiver Julian Edelman, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Edelman, in his sixth NFL season, will test the market.

Patriots and WR Julian Edelman were unable to reach a deal today and he will test the market.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014

The Patriots had reportedly offered Edelman a 3-year deal that they wanted him to accept by 4 p.m., when free agency opened. But apparently the terms of that deal weren't enticing enough for Edelman to bite.

Linebacker Wesley Woodyard will visit Patriots

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 11, 2014 12:24 PM

The Patriots may seek to replace middle linebacker Brandon Spikes with one of the more prominent linebackers in free agency, soon-to-be former Denver Bronco Wesley Woodyard.

Woodyard told the Denver Post's Brandon Krisztal that he would visit New England among other places.

Despite interest from DAL, source close to Wesley Woodyard told me his 1st trip is to NE, with another team visit planned after

— Brandon Krisztal (@BKDenverSports) March 11, 2014

Woodyard, a seven-year pro, recorded 84 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and an interception for the Broncos last season.

Hat tip to Doug Kyed at NESN for spotting this first.

UPDATE: Woodyard visited Tennessee after New England.

Former Broncos LB Wesley Woodyard to visit Tennessee. Titans Asst DB coach Steve Brown coached Woodyard at Kentucky,.

— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 12, 2014

Dobson out 2-3 months after surgery for stress fracture

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff March 11, 2014 11:16 AM

It probably brings up the question why Aaron Dobson didnít address his foot injury in the month-plus since the New England Patriots last took action, but the rookie wide receiver will miss the next 2-3 months after undergoing surgery for a stress fracture.

Multiple reports confirmed the injury this week. The setback will put Dobson behind during the spring workout schedule, but should be ready for training camp come July.

Dobson, a second-round pick out of Marshall University, had 37 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns in his 2013 rookie season. The injury to his foot came in Week 12.

Patriots offered Julian Edelman 3-year deal

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 11, 2014 11:05 AM

031114edelman.jpg

Wide receiver Julian Edelman was reportedly offered a 3-year contract by the Patriots. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)

Julian Edelman is most certainly still in the Patriots' plans going forward. The team offered the sixth-year wide receiver a 3-year deal, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

#Patriots offered WR Julian Edelman a three-year deal, per source. Would like an answer by the start of free agency. They want to keep him

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2014

The kicker, of course, is that they want him to accept before the free agency period opens today at 4 p.m. The team has reportedly been negotiating with Edelman for a couple of weeks now. For news of a proposed deal to come five hours before free agency opens leads us to believe that the Patriots are trying to put pressure on Edelman.

It's up to him whether or not he'll be back, at least on these terms, at this point.

NFL free agency kicking off at 4 p.m.

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 11, 2014 09:39 AM

The NFL free agency period officially opens at 4 p.m. today, but the rumor mill is already running on all cylinders.

NFL teams have been able to begin negotiations with players from other teams since Sunday, while other teams have assessed their own salary cap space and have made cost-cutting decisions in order to make a play in the market. The New York Jets, for instance, have already cut wide receiver Santonio Holmes ($8.25 million cap savings) and cornerback Antonio Cromartie ($9.5 million cap savings), while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to trade or possibly cut Darrelle Revis ($16 million cap savings).

For the Patriots, talks of negotiations with free agents Julian Edelman and Aqib Talib continue to permeate the blogosphere.

But at the end of the day, it's all really about the money. There's a ton of talent in the free agency pool that wants to get paid. And with only four players tagged as franchise players, you can be certain that the argument being made by each player's agent is that they deserve a top deal for their position.

The NFL actually tweeted a very compelling reason for the mad, money scramble that's going to occur today.

6.5 hours to #NFLFreeAgency! A look at current salary cap space for every NFL team (via @nflnetwork research). pic.twitter.com/sZc1fNfWIr

— NFL (@nfl) March 11, 2014

With all that money out there in Oakland, Jacksonville, and Cleveland, you gotta figure some of these teams will get better in 2014 with the talented players on the market now.

See a list of the Patriots possible free agent targets here.

Zuri Berry can be reached at zberry@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @zuriberry and on Google+.

Patriots release four players

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 10, 2014 05:21 PM

The Patriots announced they have released four players: defensive lineman Cory Grissom, running back Sam McGuffie, wide receiver T.J. Moe, and linebacker Taylor Reed.

All of them, going into their second year in the NFL, went undrafted last season.

Grissom and Moe were rookie free agent pickups by the Patriots. McGuffie, 24, finished the 2013 season on the Patriots practice squad after spending time with the Oakland Raiders. Reed spent part of the 2013 season with the Dallas Cowboys before finding his way to New England.

In addition, Patriots running back Quentin Hines and offensive tackle Elvis Fisher failed physicals, according to the NFL's transaction wire, and were waived.

Offensive tackle Brice Schwab was also listed among the team's waived players on the transaction wire.

Patriots to re-sign Michael Hoomanawanui for two more years

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 10, 2014 11:54 AM

Free agency doesnít officially start until 4 p.m. Tuesday, but the Patriots made a move Monday morning by agreeing to a two-year contract with tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, a league source confirmed.

Hoomanawanui, 25, is a blocking tight end and special teams contributor who played a larger-than-expected role last year after Aaron Hernandez was cut and Rob Gronkowski missed 11 total games with injury.

Hoomanawanui, entering his fifth NFL season, played more than 58 percent of snaps in the regular season, catching 12 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown in 13 games.

Terms of the contract were undisclosed, but Hoomanawanui played last year for the minimum $630,000 plus incentives. He spent two years with the Rams before coming to New England for the 2012 season.

The Patriots can still sign their own free agents ó Julian Edelman, Aqib Talib, Brandon Spikes, Ryan Wendell, and others ó at any time, and can officially sign free agents from other teams Tuesday afternoon.

The Patriots also released injured receiver T.J. Moe, his agent said on Twitter. Moe, an undrafted free agent rookie slot receiver out of Missouri last year, missed the entire season after tearing his Achillesí tendon in an offseason workout in May.

Report: Patriots re-sign long snapper Danny Aiken

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 7, 2014 01:06 PM

The Patriots have begun the process of addressing their 12 free agents, re-signing long snapper Danny Aiken, according to a report by ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss.

Aiken will be on a one-year deal, according to the report, securing his place on the team with kicker Stephen Gostkowski and punter Ryan Allen as the specialists.

Aiken has been with the Patriots since 2011 after being claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills. He has snapped in every single game for the Patriots since that time. He had been slated to become a restricted free agent March 11.

The Patriots still have to address a number of position players who are set to hit the market. Linebacker Brandon Spikes, appearing on NFL Network's "NFL AM" Friday morning, has said it's time for him to move on. Meanwhile, the team has reportedly reached out to wide receiver Julian Edelman to strike a deal and has had continued negotiations with cornerback Aqib Talib.

Patriots decline to use franchise, transition tags

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 3, 2014 04:26 PM

The Patriots have declined to use the franchise- and transition-tag options for any of their 12 free agents, including cornerback Aqib Talib and wide receiver Julian Edelman.

Had the Patriots opted to use the popular franchise tag, Talib would've cost them $11.834 million this upcoming season. Had Edelman been franchised, the Patriots would've had to pay the six-year veteran $12.312 million.

Those kind of gaudy numbers probably scared off the Patriots, even after an almost 10 percent increase in the salary cap to $133 million.

The Patriots reportedly were already in negotiations with Talib at the NFL Scouting Combine, and continued negotiations would work in the team's favor for long-term cap space. Talib is largely considered one of the top free agents on the market after his first full season with New England.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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