The Patriots’ aggressive offseason approach landed another target, as the team and wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth have agreed to terms on a contract.
ESPN first reported the agreement, which has since been confirmed.
ESPN has reported that the deal is a six-year contract potentially worth more than $30 million, with $12 million in bonuses. We have been unable to confirm those details, although the deal is likely similar to what the Broncos did with Javon Walker when they acquired him from the Packers prior to the 2006 season. In that scenario, the Broncos were unsure how Walker would respond from knee surgery, so they structured a long-term deal that essentially made the first year an audition of sorts.
Although Stallworth is not coming off a serious injury like Walker, his situation has some similarities. Part of that could be tied to a recent Philadelphia Inquirier report that indicated Stallworth was in the NFL’s substance abuse program. Stallworth also missed some time last year with a hamstring injury.
The sides had been talking throughout the week, and negotiations apparently went deep into Saturday night and into Sunday morning.
Stallworth had visited with the Patriots, Titans and Dolphins this week, and was also considering a return to the Eagles. A first-round draft choice in 2002, he played his first four seasons with the Saints, before joining the Eagles in 2006.
He adds another playmaking dimension to the Patriots receiving corps, as Stallworth is a threat on the outside. The Patriots’ other offseason acquistion at the position, Wes Welker, works primarily out of the slot.
The Patriots also have Reche Caldwell, Jabar Gaffney, Chad Jackson, Kelvin Kight, Bam Childress and Jonathan Smith at the position. Jackson is recovering from a torn ACL.