Team-building in the NFL is a year-round activity, but the next few days mark the start of a wild ride. The beginning of free agency was Monday, and the new league year opens Wednesday afternoon.
We’ll be tracking the Patriots moves as they happen.
Noon Monday through 3:59 p.m. on Wednesday: The legal tampering period.
Teams are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents. (Players can’t take team visits during the tampering window, or make travel arrangements for visits.) Basically, teams can talk to reps, but the two sides can’t officially consummate the agreement until the start of the new league year.
Wednesday, 4 p.m.: The start of the new league year.
All 2020 player contracts expire, and clubs can officially begin signing free agents at 4 p.m. Wednesday. In addition, trades that have been made (like Jared Goff-for-Matthew Stafford) can officially be rubber stamped. Teams also have to have their financial books in order — all 32 teams need to be under the 2021 salary cap before 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
In addition, clubs must exercise options for 2021 on all players who have option clauses in their 2020 contracts, and they must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a right of first refusal/compensation.
Latest Patriots offseason moves
Pats reportedly re-sign Andrews — 10:30 p.m.
Big news for the offensive line, as veteran center David Andrews is reportedly returning on a four-year deal. Andrews had been willing to test the market, but the 28-year-old will be back in New England.
Patriots re-sign Nick Folk — 5:09 p.m.
Nick Folk is getting rewarded for a stellar 2020 season with a new one-year contract to remain with the Patriots.
Patriots sign Montravius Adams — 3:53 p.m.
New England and Bill Belichick are continuing their defensive rebuild, signing Montravius Adams on a one-year deal.
The deal for the defensive end is worth $2.5 million, his agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN.
Adams appeared in eight games for the Packers last season before a toe injury landed him on injured reserve in November. He missed the rest of the season.
Patriots trade Ryan Izzo to Texans — 1:29 p.m.
The Patriots are dealing Ryan Izzo to the Texans for a seventh-round pick in 2022, NFL Network is reporting.
Izzo was drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round in 2018 and spent all of 2018 on the injured reserve list. He appeared in six games in 2019 and 12 last season — all 12 of them starts.
He notched just 13 receptions and 199 yards in what was a disappointing season for New England tight ends.
Patrick Chung announces retirement — 9:40 a.m.
Two days ago, Patrick Chung tweeted: “Big big news coming. Stay tuned!!”
Moments later, Chung jokingly revealed said news: “I saved money with Liberty Mutual.”
But it turns out there actually was something bigger in store. On Thursday morning, the 33-year-old safety announced he is retiring from the NFL after 11 seasons.
Patriots cut Lee, Allen — Thursday, 5:00 a.m.
The Patriots are clearing out room on their roster, cutting receiver Marqise Lee and defensive lineman Beau Allen, ESPN is reporting.
The Patriots have released WR Marqise Lee and DT Beau Allen, per source.
Lee opted out of last season, while Allen was unable to play due to injury.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 18, 2021
Lee signed with the Patriots in April of 2020 but decided to opt-out of the season in August.
Allen also signed with the Patriots in the spring, and didn’t appear in a game after battling injuries. He went on the IR in October and was never removed.
Thank you @patriots for the opportunity. I’m proud to say I never took the easy way out and did everything in my power to play this game I love. Looking forward to seeing what else football has in store for me!
— Beau Allen (@Beau_Allen) March 18, 2021
Kyle Van Noy hype video out — Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.
Safe to say Kyle Van Noy is excited about returning to the Patriots.
The linebacker broke his own free-agency news with a hype video celebrating his greatest moments and telling fans:
“Pats Nation! I’m back. Let’s get it.”
The video fades to black as the song “Boogie Nights” plays, which might be an ode to the fearsome “Boogeymen” linebacker corps of 2019 featuring Van Noy, Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Chase Winovich, and Jamie Collins.
— Kyle Van Noy (@KVN_03) March 18, 2021
Cody Davis, Pats’ special-teams ace, will return — 3:16 p.m.
Patriots special teams pro Cody Davis is returning to the team on a two-year deal.
Davis broke the news himself Wednesday afternoon, with an assist from his five-year-old son Kane.
“Breaking news,” said Kane, decked out in his dad’s jersey. “Patriots for two more years.”
👀 First reported by NFL Family Insider Kane Davis pic.twitter.com/puscddVFDw
— Cody Davis (@CodyDavis) March 17, 2021
This offseason, New England’s special teams unit has retained two of its free-agent gunners in Davis and Justin Bethel, who recently re-signed on a three-year, $6 million deal. Davis ranked third on the team in special teams snaps last season, playing 64.5 percent of them.
Patriots put second-round tender on J.C. Jackson — 1:33 p.m.
The Patriots have put a second-round tender on restricted free agent J.C. Jackson.
That means the team will have the option of matching any offer from a team interested in the cornerback. Or, they could allow him to leave, and receive a second-round pick as compensation.
Could Ted Karras replace a free agent David Andrews? — 12:06 p.m.
The Patriots are welcoming back another familiar face to their offensive line after a league source confirmed Wednesday the team struck a deal with Ted Karras.
Adam Butler to the Dolphins — Wednesday, 12:03 p.m.
NFL Network is reporting that the Dolphins will sign defensive tackle Adam Butler on a two-year deal.
Butler has spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Patriots after going undrafted out of Vanderbilt in 2017.
David Andrews reportedly ready to test free agency — Tuesday, 11:01 p.m.
David Andrews is apparently ready to entertain offers from the rest of the league.
According to NFL Media, the veteran center, who reportedly spent “all day” Tuesday weighing offers from the Patriots, is now ready to test the free agent market.
Andrews, 28, has spent all six years of his NFL career with New England, playing in 72 games.
Patrick Chung tricks fans with ‘big news’ — 6:20 p.m.
Patriots safety Patrick Chung wants fans to be on the look-out:
Big big news coming. Stay tuned!!
— Patrick Chung (@PatrickChung23) March 16, 2021
Then explained why an hour later:
The news is I saved money with liberty mutual. Haha I’ll wait for your comments.
— Patrick Chung (@PatrickChung23) March 16, 2021
That’s right: Chung thinks he’s funny.
The safety is, of course, under contract with the Patriots and has said that he intends to return after opting out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the meantime, he’s been focusing on his family and his business, including launching a commercial real-estate company.
Brissett signs with Miami — 5:28 p.m.
Jacoby Brissett has found his new home: South Florida.
Brissett, who was traded to the Colts from the Patriots in 2017, is signing a one-year deal to join the Miami Dolphins, according to ESPN.
Brian Flores already has his signal-caller in Tua Tagovailoa, but lost veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to Washington.
Texans sign Tyrod Taylor — 5:06 p.m.
ESPN is reporting that Tyrod Taylor, who was the Chargers’ starting quarterback at the beginning of 2020 before getting benched for Justin Herbert, is on the move.
Taylor will sign a one-year deal with the Houston Texans worth more than $12 million, according to Adam Schefter.
Bucs reportedly pursuing running back James White — 11:01 a.m.
Running back James White is among the most notable Patriots players who are free agents this offseason. And it’s quite possible you could see him in a new uniform next year.
Patriots add Hunter Henry — Tuesday, 10:03 a.m.
The Patriots signed tight end Hunter Henry to a free agent deal, a league source confirmed Tuesday morning.
In giving the Henry a three-year deal worth $25 million guaranteed, New England grabbed the top two tight ends off the market after locking up Jonnu Smith on Monday.
No Fitzmagic for Pats — Monday, 11:07 p.m.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was seen by some as a possibility for the Patriots, but according to ESPN, the veteran has agreed to a deal with the Washington Football Team. Per Adam Schefter, it’s a one-year deal worth $10 million that could grow to $12 million with incentives.
Pats reportedly add DL Henry Anderson — 8:10 p.m.
After beefing up the front seven by signing nose tackle Davon Godchaux and pass-rusher Matt Judon, the Patriots are making clear they’re spending their free-agent capital on the defense.
New England will sign former Jets DL Henry Anderson, according to the NFL Network.
Anderson appeared in all 16 games for New York last season, starting eight. His 42 tackles were the most he’s garnered in any of his six seasons in the league.
WR Kendrick Bourne reportedly signing with New England — 6:47 p.m.
In addition to tight end Jonnu Smith and wide receiver Nelson Agholor, the Patriots are reportedly signing 25-year-old receiver Kendrick Bourne, who played for the 49ers last season.
Just gonna leave this one here: pic.twitter.com/OfPHsVzoEA
— Christopher Price (@cpriceglobe) March 15, 2021
Gronk running it back — 6:38 p.m.
It was Tom Brady who convinced Rob Gronkowski to join him in Tampa. It’s no surprise that three days after Brady agreed to a contract extension with the Buccaneers, Gronk has a new deal, too.
The Buccaneers and Gronkowski agreed to a one-year deal worth $10 million, Gronkowski’s agent told ESPN.
Is another Super Bowl ring next?
Patriots adding WR Nelson Agholor — 6:26 p.m.
Nelson Agholor, a former first-round pick in 2015, is reportedly joining the Patriots.
The 27-year-old Agholor has 272 catches for 3,411 yards and 26 touchdowns in five years in the NFL. Last season with the Raiders, he caught 48 passes for 896 yards and eight touchdowns.
Patriots re-sign DL Deatrich Wise — 4:40 p.m.
The Patriots are bringing back defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr., according to reports. In four seasons with the Patriots, Wise has appeared in 62 games, recording 14 sacks.
Joe Thuney earns big deal with Chiefs — 4:09 p.m.
Joe Thuney has landed the big-money deal many thought he earned through his stellar offensive line play for the Patriots over the past five seasons.
The 28-year-old is signing a five-year contract with the Chiefs worth $80 million. He’ll be tasked with protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes instead of Tom Brady or Cam Newton.
Patriots adding DB Jalen Mills on four-year deal — 3:04 p.m.
The Patriots are signing defensive back Jalen Mills on a four-year deal worth $24 million, according to his agent.
If his name sounds familiar, it might be because Mills was on the Eagles’ roster when Philadelphia beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
Patriots to sign pass-rusher Matt Judon — 2:58 p.m.
The Patriots are bolstering their defense at the start of free agency, agreeing to sign linebacker Matt Judon to a four-year deal, according to the NFL Network.
Judon will earn $56 million, including $32 million in just the first two years of the contract, Tom Pelissero is reporting.
Patriots sign DT Davon Godchaux — 1:06 p.m.
The Patriots locked up mammoth nose tackle Davon Godchaux to a two-year deal. The 6-foot-3-inch, 311-pound Godchaux was a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins in 2017 and has played in 52 games in Miami with a 179 tackles and three sacks.
The Patriots top interior linemen from last season, Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler, are free agents, so the club moved quickly to get a body in place in case those incumbents leave.
Patriots add big tight end Jonnu Smith on four-year deal — 12:59 p.m.
The Patriots have agreed to sign tight end Jonnu Smith to a four-year, $50 million contract. According to ESPN, the deal includes $31.25 million of guaranteed money.
Smith, drafted in the third round out of Florida International University in 2017, spent his first four NFL seasons with the Tennessee Titans. Last year, he caught 41 passes for 448 yards and eight touchdowns.
Sunday: Patriots trade Marcus Cannon to Texans
Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who opted out of the 2020 season, is back — and headed home to Texas.
On Sunday Patriots made their first deal with former director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who recently became general manager of the Texans, when they dealt Cannon to Houston in exchange for moving up in April’s draft.
March 12: Patriots add back Justin Bethel
Core special teamer Justin Bethel is sticking with the Patriots on a three-year, $6 million deal.
Bethel, alongside fellow gunners Matthew Slater and Cody Davis, was essential to New England’s punt coverage last season. He played in all 16 games and was on the field for a team-high 84.1 percent of the Patriots’ special teams snaps.
March 12: Patriots re-sign Cam Newton
The Patriots’ first splash during the offseason was the re-signing of quarterback Cam Newton to a one-year deal.
Will the 31-year-old be calling plays in Week 1? The signing doesn’t prevent New England from adding another quarterback onto the roster (Jarrett Stidham is the only other QB under contract).
Newton’s one-year deal with the Patriots is worth a maximum of $13.6 million, but has only $3.5 million fully guaranteed, per a copy of the contract obtained by the Globe. His salary cap number will be about $5.4 million.
March 9: Patriots re-acquire Trent Brown
A familiar face is returning to Foxborough: The Patriots agreed to acquire 6-foot-8-inch, 360-pound Trent Brown and a 2022 seventh-round draft pick from the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for a 2022 fifth-round selection.
Brown, 27, first came to Foxborough in April 2018 when the Patriots sent a third-rounder to the 49ers for him. New England also received a fifth-rounder in that deal. He started all 19 games in 2018 as the Patriots roared to their sixth Super Bowl title with a 13-3 win over the Rams.
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