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The New England Patriots are bringing back center Dan Koppen, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Koppen, 32, ended the 2011 season on injured reserve for the Patriots. It's reported to be a two-year deal worth $6 million.
Talking with the Boston Herald earlier this month, Koppen sounded as if he was prepared to move on from the Patriots.
"I've been around this league a long time, I know it's a business," he went on. "I know the business, I know the business side of it. I've seen things that happen in the past and some things just work out and some things just don't work out. I understand that the Patriots have gotta do what's best for them and I gotta do what's best for my family. So, in the next couple weeks, if decisions have to be made, then I'm gonna make my decisions based on what I feel is right for my family."
Koppen originally joined the team as a fifth round pick in the 2003 NFL draft. He's started at least 15 games in seven of his nine seasons.
The New England Patriots are working on filling the holes in their roster as the 2012 NFL draft approaches. The Pats hope to have another solid contending season as they defend their AFC title.
Carpenter is a former No. 18 overall pick, selected by the Dallas Cowboys out of Ohio State in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft. Carpenter was with the Cowboys until 2009 before moving on to play with the Miami Dolphins and the Lions.
Carpenter has 165 tackles in his NFL career, including 3.5 sacks and has one career interception. The Patriots are hoping that the six-year veteran can add some depth to their linebacking corps in the coming season.
The New England Patriots have focused their attention on wide receivers in free agency. They have recently brought in Brandon Lloyd and Donte Stallworth and re-signed Deion Branch for next season. Chad Ochocinco, in order to avoid being the odd man out this offseason, has restructured his contract to give himself a better shot of sticking with the team.
Ochocinco earned nearly $6 million last season to catch just 15 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown. He has reportedly agreed to lower his $3 million base salary to $1 million, eliminating any financial motives the Pats might have to release him.
On the surface at least, Ochocinco doesn't appear to be pushing back against the organization. The Patriots asked the veteran wideout to restructure his two-year deal back in February. His quotes this offseason have mostly centered on getting better acclimated with the playbook so he can make a bigger contribution next season.
The New England Patriots were looking for receivers in free agency and, after picking up Brandon Lloyd, they've decided to bring back another veteran receiver. Deion Branch and the Patriots agreed to terms on a one-year deal, according to multiple reports.
Branch started his career in New England and he very well could be ending it in New England. The 33-year old receiver caught 51 balls for 705 yards last season, along with five touchdowns.
Branch was originally picked up by the Patriots in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft and he spent four productive seasons in New England before he was shipped off to the Seattle Seahawks. Branch ultimately returned to New England via trade back in the 2010 season.
For his career, Branch has 502 receptions for 6,499 yards and 39 touchdowns.
The New England Patriots are hoping to sign Wes Welker to a new contract, and Tom Brady just gave them some more salary cap space to do so. According to NFLPA records (via Brian McIntyre), Brady restructured his contract, which results in more salary cap space for the Patriots.
The details of the restructure, per McIntyre:
Signed to a four-year, $72 million contract extension on September 10, 2010, Brady was scheduled to earn $5.75 million in base salary with a $6 million roster bonus and $250,000 workout bonus this season. Under the restructure, Brady's base salary was reduced to a fully guaranteed $950,000, with the leftover amount ($4.8 million) combined with the roster bonus and converted into a $10.8 million signing bonus that will be prorated over the three remaining years on Brady's contract.
The final result is taking Brady's 2012 cap number from $15.2 million to $8 million for a cap savings of $7.2 million. Brady doesn't receive any less money, or anything like that. It's just restructuring the accounting of that money to give the Pats more salary cap space.
Former Oakland Raiders first-round pick Robert Gallery has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots, according to Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network. Gallery has gained more notoriety for failing to live up to being a No. 2 overall pick in 2004. He could be a valuable backup guard in New England, however.
Gallery spent this past season with the Seattle Seahawks on a three-year contract. He struggled to stay healthy due to a groin injury, however, and the team cut him last week as a result. He has missed 18 games over the past three seasons.
Bill Belichick was reportedly high on Gallery as a tackle when he entered the NFL Draft out of Iowa. Gallery has since moved to the interior and will turn 32 before the start of the season.
The New England Patriots signed veteran wider receiver Donte Stallworth to a one-year contract Monday, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter. Stallworth has played with five different teams since leaving the New Orleans Saints after the 2005 season. He played with the Patriots in 2007 and was productive, catching 46 passes for 697 yards and three touchdowns. He is looking to reinvigorate his career in Foxboro once again, having failed to catch more than 22 passes in a season since he left.
This time around, things will be different....— Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) March 19, 2012
Stallworth is still probably more well-known for his one-year suspension from the NFL in 2009 after running over and killing a man in Miami Beach. The next year after suspension he caught just two passes in an injury-plagued eight games for the Baltimore Ravens. He bounced back with 22 receptions and 309 yards with the Washington Redskins last season, and could still prove to be a valuable deep threat especially with Tom Brady under center.
For more on the Patriots, head over to the SB Nation blog Pats Pulpit.
Speculation was rampant throughout the NFL free agency period that the New England Patriots were the leading contender for talented wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, and, for once, the Internets were correct. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Saturday night that the Patriots and Lloyd reached an agreement on a two-year contract.
Lloyd struggled last season for the Denver Broncos before he was traded to the St. Louis Rams. He had 70 catches for 966 yards in all last year, down from 2010 when he finally realized his enormous potential and led the NFL with 1,448 receiving yards to go with 77 catches and 11 touchdowns. The 30-year-old has also played for the 49ers, Redskins and Bears in his now nine-year career.
Lloyd has made a living out of making acrobatic catches, and he might be the best receiver in the league 6-feet and under at YouTube-worthy plays. For example, this ridiculous catch, and also this one. Outside of Calvin Johnson, no one has better body control. The question is, will he be happy when more than half of Tom Brady's throws go to tight ends and the other half go to Wes Welker?
Desperately seeking a big-name wide-out since the departure of Randy Moss, Patriots fans out reveling in St. Patrick's Day celebrations will likely gloss with this signing, a typical bargain-basement deal frequently seen from this franchise.
While the Gonzalez signing simply prolongs the Brandon Lloyd-Josh McDaniels reunion, that deal appears to be moving in the right direction and would surely draw a rousing response from fans once it's complete.
Gonzalez is not guaranteed a roster spot. With a number of slot and middle-of-the-field receiver already solidified on the Patriots' depth chart, there will be plenty of competition for Gonzalez, if not limited room for him.
Last season, Gonzalez appeared in eight games for the Colts but failed to record a single reception. A former first-round selection, Gonzalez has played only 11 games in the past three years.
The New England Patriots have been relatively quiet in free agency thus far, only signing defensive tackle Jonathan Fanene to a contract. On Thursday, they added some secondary help by signing former Chargers safety Steve Gregory. It's a three-year deal, according to his agent, David Canter.
Versatility is the key with Gregory, who can play safety and cornerback. He spent the first six years of his career with the Chargers, making 13 starts last season. He'll be able to contribute quickly in Bill Belichick's defense.
The Patriots' free-agency goals have been addressing the secondary and adding a receiver. Gregory helps with the secondary, but more moves will likely be coming. Brandon Lloyd remains a possibility at receiver.
The New England Patriots were fairly quiet on the first day of free agency before adding former Cincinnati Bengals DT Jonathan Fanene on day two. Now, on the third day of the free agency period, word comes down that the Patriots are visiting with a pair of free agents -- safety LaRon Landry and wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez, according to the Boston Herald.
Landry is a former top 10 pick with the Washington Redskins. When healthy, he's a dynamic safety who can instantly upgrade a secondary. The problem, however, is that Landry has dealt with various ailments in the last couple of years, making his health a concern.
Gonzalez is another former first-round pick. The Indianapolis Colts picked him up in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft and his first two years in the league were productive before injuries limited him to just 11 games in the past three years.
After one day of free agency, there was nothing on Lloyd and the Patriots. By Day 2, Lloyd had set up a visit with the San Francisco 49ers. We're not really sure where the two sides stand, but the Boston Globe reports that the Patriots are still trying to get him "in the fold".
So what's the hold up?
Lloyd is one of the top free-agent receivers, so he could be making a pretty penny in free agency. The Boston Herald reported Lloyd had told other Patriots players that his contractual demands would be "reasonable." Lloyd has made it clear he wants to play for Josh McDaniels again, so I wonder if he will take less money to join New England.
The New England Patriots have landed defensive end Jonathan Fanene in free agency, according to multiple reports. Fanene is a former seventh round pick in the 2005 NFL draft and spent all seven years of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Patriots will also be looking to add to the secondary in free agency.
This is New England's first signing of the free agency period, which is a departure from the activity in last year's free agency period. New England still seeks a receiver, perhaps someone like Brandon Lloyd.
The New England Patriots continue to look for upgrades to their secondary. After scheduling a visit with Steve Gregory, the Patriots are also interested in LaRon Landry, former Washington Redskins safety, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Landry, if healthy, would be a major boost to the Patriots secondary. The problem with Landry is that he hasn't been healthy lately. He's played in just 17 games the last two seasons due to injury. He's one of the league's top safeties when he is healthy but teams will definitely be worried about him staying on the field.
Landry was the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft. With a somewhat weak free agency safety class, he can cash in this year. Other teams reportedly showing interest in him include the Jets, Eagles, Lions and Bears.
The New England Patriots allowed RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis to hit free agency and there were reportedly multiple teams interested in his services. One of those teams has now been identified -- the Cincinnati Bengals. Per Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, Green-Ellis will visit the Bengals.
Cincinnati has a ton of salary cap space and the'yre losing RB Cedric Benson in free agency so Green-Ellis makes a lot of sense there. If signed by the Bengals, he would enter one of the toughest divisions to rush the ball in with the Steelers and Ravens both in the AFC North.
Green-Ellis was originally an undrafted free agent in 2008 and, believe it or not, he has never fumbled. Not once. That's a pretty incredible statistic for a guy who's been in the league for four years. He also has 24 rushing touchdowns in the last two seasons. His career best rushing yardage came in 2010 when he surpassed the 1,000 yard mark.
For more Bengals free agency updates, visit SB Nation's Cincy Jungle.
The New England Patriots entered free agency with a few key needs, including an upgrade to the secondary. The Patriots pass defense last season was good enough to land them in the playoffs but it does need a few upgrades. One of the possible upgrades is safety Steve Gregory.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Gregory is visiting the Patriots.
Gregory was most recently with the San Diego Chargers in a so-so 2011 season. He's 28 years old so there's still some promise there. Gregory reportedly has at least three teams interested in his services. Outside of the Patriots, it's unknown who those teams are (which makes you wonder if they even exist).
Gregory became a starter in San Diego early last season when Bob Sanders went down with an injury.
This shouldn't surprise anyone who has been paying attention, but the New England Patriots are considered the favorites for free agent receiver Brandon Lloyd. This isn't out of left field, as Lloyd has said before he wants to be reunited with Josh McDaniels, who is now back in New England. Lloyd also said publicly last week that he would be very interested in the Patriots when free agency hits at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Now another report has come out connecting Lloyd to the Patriots. According to the Boston Herald, Lloyd has told other Patriots players that he will have "reasonable" contractual demands. Rapoport believes a Lloyd signing could come quickly.
The Patriots need for a top receiver is no secret. That's something they struggled with throughout the 2011 season, despite having one of the best passing attacks in the game (those tight ends don't hurt).
When free agency opens, keep an eye on Lloyd and the Pats.
The second round level of the tender is an interesting one because that's low enough that another team very well could come in and give up a second round pick for Hoyer. Another team can offer him a contract, and if the Patriots decline to match it, they give up Hoyer but receive a second round pick in return. But the Patriots will have a right to match any offer he receives, so they really control his rights.
If you're a team like the Dolphins or Browns, who could miss out on Peyton Manning and one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft, you may have to think about making a play for Hoyer. Quarterbacks are a valuable commodity in the NFL, and even guys with virtually no experience like Hoyer have some value.
New England Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is set to hit NFL free agency as an unrestricted free agent, and the Patriots don't plan on re-signing him before the market opens on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. Green-Ellis is expected to have quite a few suitors in free agency, however, according to Tom Curran of CSNNE.
There has been "dialogue" between Green-Ellis' camp and the Patriots but an agreeable offer for the fifth-year running back out of Ole Miss hasn't emerged. A source indicated that Green-Ellis would be a "coveted" prospect when he does hit the market.
Green-Ellis ran for 1,008 yards in 2010, but his numbers dropped in 2011 with 667 yards on just 181 carries. Green-Ellis has been a reliable player for the Patriots, doing a little bit of everything on offense, but one thing he's never done is fumbled the football during his NFL career. Green-Ellis might not be a feature back, but he will be a hot commodity for a team looking to utilize a running back by committee offense.
For more free agency updates, go to SB Nation's Patriots blog, Pats Pulpit.
The New England Patriots made it to the Super Bowl for the second time in the last five years, and just like last time, they lost to the New York Giants. The Patriots have one of the league's top offenses, despite the lack of a solid No. 1 wide receiver, but their defense was a major problem for the team throughout the majority of the 2011 season. Even though they are likely going to dominate the division again in 2012, there are plenty of holes to address in the depth chart.
The Patriots have a handful of free agents that are likely going to be leaving the team when free agency opens in a day. Wide receiver Wes Welker got the franchise tag, but Deion Branch, Andre Carter, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and defensive end Andre Carter are all going to test the market. Luckily, the Patriots have a decent amount of money to throw around this year.
The biggest need for the team is to find some good wide receivers. Branch and Chad Ochocinco aren't nearly good enough to be considered No. 1 receivers and even though the team uses tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez almost like wide receivers, a player like Brandon Lloyd or Vincent Jackson would be really beneficial to the team. A pass rusher, especially Mario Williams, would go a long way for the defense as well and the team also needs help in the secondary. Brandon Carr could help at cornerback while a safety like Reggie Nelson could help at safety.
For more free agency updates, go to SB Nation's Patriots blog, Pats Pulpit.
The New England Patriots made it all the way to Super Bowl XLVI but they still have holes to fill and among them is a game-breaking wide receiver. It just so happens that one of those will be available in free agency. Brandon Lloyd, who played the 2011 season with the St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos, tells Tom Curran of CSNNE.com that he's keeping an eye on the Patriots in free agency.
"Very interested. And like I said earlier, I admire Coach Bill (Belichick), I admire Tom Brady, I admire how they run things over there. For any receiver to be considered to come in and play on the New England Patriots is gonna be excited just because of the history of success"
Lloyd says winning is the highest priority for him in free agency. He also has a very strong relationship with Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and is on record saying he would like to play for him again.
New England seems like the smart money for Lloyd right now. Another interesting factor will be the Pats' interest in Mike Wallace, who could cost a first-round pick plus big money to take him away from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The deadline to apply the franchise tag is fast approaching and to no one's surprise the New England Patriots plan to use the tag on receiver Wes Welker. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the tag will be applied sometime before the 4 p.m. (ET) deadline on Monday afternoon.
Welker is among the obvious franchise tag guys. He's an integral part of New England's highly successful offense and at 30 years old he still has several productive seasons ahead of him. This is an easy decision for New England.
The hard part comes in negotiating a long-term deal for Welker. He's Tom Brady's best receiver and has put up incredible numbers since joining the Patriots. That means he'll need to be paid like a big-time receiver. It'll be interesting to see what kind of money he gets but top receivers are getting over a $9 million per year average on new contracts.
The Patriots will have until July 15 to sign him to a long-term deal and, if they don't, Welker will have to play the season under the estimated $9.4 million franchise tag number.
The Houston Texans recently signed running back Arian Foster to a new long term contract, which many believe has now pushed the Texans to the brink of not being able to afford impending free agent defensive end Mario Williams. If Williams hits the open market, he's sure to be one of the most sought after players in free agency. One team that should be very interested in Williams is the New England Patriots, according to Peter King of SI.com.
I think I'm more convinced than ever: The Patriots, who need major help on defense, should be at the front of the pursuit pack for Mario Williams, assuming the Texans don't put the franchise tag on him.
The Patriots definitely have a big hole to fill at the pass rusher position, so their interest in Williams would not be surprising. Multiple other teams, such as the Seattle Seahawks and the Jacksonville Jaguars, have been linked to be in play for Williams' services as well.
For more on the Houston Texans offseason, keep up with Battle Red Blog. And for more on Houston sports, visit SB Nation Houston. For more on the Patriots offseason visit Pats Pulpit and SB Nation Boston.
The New England Patriots are trying to come to terms with a new contract for pending free agent wide receiver Wes Welker, but if the two sides cannot come to terms on a deal, the Patriots are expected to franchise tag Welker before the 4 p.m. ET deadline, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.
The Patriots are expected to assign the franchise tag to receiver Wes Welker by Monday's deadline. I don't think it's a coincidence that the team is waiting until the last minute. In some ways, I see it as symbolic of the club not wanting to create a "hard ball" type of message with a player who has done everything it has asked of him. They just have a difference of opinion as to the right contract at this point.
It's still possible for the two sides to come to an agreement on a long term deal and remove the franchise tag prior to July 15, but it sounds like the Patriots are expected to place the tag on Welker. The wide receiver is coming off another 100-catch 1,000 yard season for the Patriots and has been a vital cog in the offense since he was acquired via a trade with the Miami Dolphins in 2007.
There were recent rumblings that the New England Patriots are considering cutting wide receiver Chad Ochocino this offseason. It now appears that the defending AFC champs are amenable to bringing the polarizing receiver back for 2012, provided that he is willing to restructure his current contract with the team.
Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk reports that Ochocinco is due to make $3 million in each of the next two years with the Patriots. That would seem to be well above his current value, based on his 2011 numbers.
Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal reports, and PFT has confirmed, that the Patriots have approached Ochocinco regarding the possibility of restructuring the contract.
It's unknown at this point whether the Patriots wish to do a "simple restructuring," which would give him up to $2.075 million in the form of a signing bonus and drop his 2012 cap number by up to $1.0375 million, or whether the Pats want Ochocinco to roll back his base salary to a lower amount.
Florio notes that the Patriots do not want to cut Ochocinco just yet. The $6 million signing bonus he received when he signed a two-year extension with New England after arriving in town as part of a 2011 trade makes that difficult. If Ochocinco does not agree to restructure his contract, he will definitely be on the chopping block prior to the 2012 season.
While the New England Patriots have some high profile free agents like wide receiver Wes Welker, the real area that could take a hit in free agency is along the Patriots offensive line. The Patriots could be moving on from two of their longtime starting offensive lineman heading into the 2012 season according to a report in the Boston Globe.
According to multiple NFL sources, the Patriots are prepared to move on without left tackle Matt Light and center Dan Koppen. The hope is to get Dan Connolly, who is an unrestricted free agent, under contract before free agency.
The Patriots think they have guys who can step in and take over roles, like Marcus Cannon, who has the ability to play in the interior of the line and potentially as an offensive tackle. Young tackles Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder should move back into the starting line up and make the transition from guys like Matt Light. Vollmer has been a good starter before at right tackle, but has battled back injuries as of late. It's possible, though, that the Patriots could see at least three new starters on their offensive line.
The New England Patriots have some important free agents potentially hitting the open market, such as wide receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch. The Patriots could have another wide receiver hit the open market, due to being released. To no one's surprise, wide receiver Chad Ochocinco is a candidate to be cut, according to a report by the Boston Herald.
What the situation is now: Wes Welker's contract situation has his status in doubt, but it's likely he'll be back somehow. Deion Branch is aging, while Chad Ochocinco is a likely candidate to get cut. Julian Edelman and Tiquan Underwood have yet to make a consistent impact.
Ochocinco is coming off his worst season of his career and is due a little over $3 million in the 2012 season. It's possible that Ochocinco will restructure his contract, but it's even more likely that he's just outright released before his $100,000 workout bonus kicks in. Ochocinco caught just 15 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown in 15 games with the Patriots.
The New England Patriots have quite a few players scheduled to hit free agency, but the team has gotten a head start with shedding some players. On Wednesday, the Patriots released two players because of failed physicals according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post.
Both guard Rich Ohrnberger and defensive lineman Mike Wright failed their physicals, prompting them to be cut by New England, per a source.— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) February 23, 2012
Ohrnberger has been with the Patriots since the 2009 NFL season, playing in just a handful of games. Ohrnberger spent the 2011 NFL season on the Patriots' practice squad. Defensive lineman Mike Wright has been a rotational player and sport starter on the Patriots' defense since the 2005 NFL season. Wright played in just one game in 2011 and missed six games in 2010 after dealing with concussion issues/symptoms. Wright suffered a concussion in 2010 against the Indianapolis Colts and didn't play again that season. In 2011, Wright suffered a concussion in the opening game against the Miami Dolphins and missed the remainder of the season.
For more on the New England Patriots, visit SB Nation's Patriots blog Pats Pulpit.
After losing Super Bowl XLVI to the New York Giants the Patriots will turn their attention to their impending free agents, which include the likes of Wes Welker and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.