The New England Patriots have been signing their own draft picks and several undrafted free agents, but there are veteran players who are also available to sign.
According to Howard Balzer of Sirius XM NFL and The Sports Xchange, the Patriots have worked out four veteran free agents: running backs Ronnie Brown and Brian Leonard, and tight ends Nate Byham and Ben Hartsock.
CB Aaron Berry had tryout with Browns. RB Ronnie Brown, TE Nate byham, TE Ben Hartsock, RB Brian Leonard had tryouts with Patriots.
— Howard Balzer (@HBalzer721) May 21, 2014
Brown, 32, was the Miami Dolphins’ first-round pick (second overall) in 2005. He had 1,128 carries for 4,815 yards and 36 touchdowns in his six years with the Dolphins. Patriots fans will remember Brown for his huge performance in Week 3 of the 2008 season. Brown gashed the Patriots time after time, taking 17 carries for 113 yards (6.65 YPA) and four touchdowns at Gillette Stadium in a game where the Dolphins unveiled the infamous Wildcat offense.
As the Wildcat became less successful, so did Brown, and he parted ways as a free agent following the 2010 season. His numbers have dipped significantly since leaving Miami in 2011, with 133 carries for 513 yards and two touchdowns over the past three seasons (2011 with the Philadelphia Eagles, 2012-2013 with the San Diego Chargers).
There are also some ties to Bill Belichick’s friend, former Rutgers/Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano. Leonard, 30, played for Bill Belichick’s friend Greg Schiano all four years at Rutgers (2003-2006) and last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He finished the 2013 season with 361 yards from scrimmage (182 rushing, 179 receiving), the second-highest total of his career.
Byham, 25, also played for Schiano with the Buccaneers from 2012-2013. At 6-foot-4 and 264 pounds, Byham is considered a much better blocker than receiving threat; the four-year veteran has totaled 11 receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown in 29 career games.
The Patriots are modestly familiar with Hartsock, 33, who spent two years with the New York Jets from 2009-2010.
Since the beginning of the 2014 offseason, the Patriots have added two tight ends and three running backs to their roster. Depth is considered a long-term concern at both spots. Additional signings would only add to an already healthy competition at those two spots.