|Source: WR Josh Boyce signs rookie deal with Patriots||05.24.13 at 3:24 pm ET|
The Patriots signed fourth-round pick Josh Boyce to a rookie contract, a league source confirmed Friday afternoon. Boyce, a wide receiver out of Texas Christian, signed a four-year deal worth up to $2.6 million with a $477,000 signing bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. He was the 102nd player taken overall, and the second wide receiver who was part of the 2013 draft class for New England.
Boyce is the fifth member of the Patriots’ draft class to sign, joining Jamie Collins (second round), cornerback Logan Ryan (third round), safety Duron Harmon (third round) and linebacker Steve Beauharnais (seventh round) as picks who are already in the fold. The only two unsigned rookies are second-round pick Aaron Dobson and seventh-round selection Michael Buchanan.
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|Future Patriots? These four could be next members of Rutgers-to-Foxboro pipeline||05.24.13 at 8:00 am ET|
With the recent pickup of offensive lineman Kevin Haslam earlier this week, the number of Rutgers products on the Patriots’ roster now stands at eight. That group includes Haslam; defensive backs Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan, Brandon Jones and Duron Harmon; as well as defensive end Justin Francis, linebacker Steve Beauharnais; and wide receiver Mark Harrison.
With the understanding that the Patriots now seem to be particularly fond of Rutgers’ players, here’s a look at four guys who could be in Foxboro sooner rather than later.
Wide receiver Brandon Coleman: This 6-foot-6, 220-pounder, who will be heading into his junior year this fall, is considered an elite playmaker, and recorded 43 catches for 738 yards (16.7 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns last season. He was the leading receiver for the Scarlet Knights in 2012, but recently sat out spring drills as he recovers from a “minor procedure” on his knee. Coleman, who is just four touchdowns shy of the school record, doesn’t necessarily have elite straight-line speed, but more than makes up for it with his size and catch radius. He was second-team All-BIG EAST in 2012.
Defensive back Jeremy Deering: Around Foxboro, the saying goes “The more you can do, the more you can do for us,” and that might apply to Deering. In three years with the Scarlet Knights, he’s played Wildcat quarterback, running back and wide receiver, while also returning kickoffs and working at safety. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder, who is heading into his senior season, was a multidimensional offensive threat as a freshman and sophomore (he rushed for 352 yards as a freshman and 169 yards as a sophomore, and finished his freshman year with 338 receiving yards), but he transitioned more into a defensive role as a junior. It remains to be seen where he projects in the NFL, but his versatility and pedigree — as well as the fact that he averaged 31.2 yards on 17 kickoff returns in 2011 — will almost certainly draw the attention of the Patriots.
Running back Savon Huggins: The 6-foot, 203-pounder, who is heading into his junior year, has been slowed by injury the last two seasons (134 carries, 377 yards), but with the departure of Jawan Jamison for the NFL, it appears all eyes will be on Huggins this fall. He’s had one breakout game as a collegian, rushing for 179 yards on 41 carries last year against Cincinnati. More performances like that will certainly get him noticed by the folks in Foxboro.
Wide receiver Quron Pratt: After a 32-catch season in 2011, big things were expected from Pratt in 2012, but a minor tweak in offensive philosophy (including a new offensive coordinator) saw his role minimized somewhat in 2012. He finished with 22 catches for 230 yards last season, but at this point, projects to be the No. 2 wide receiver on the depth chart behind Coleman.
|Tom Brady on D&C: Feelings about Wes Welker’s departure ‘very personal to me’||05.23.13 at 8:00 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about the Patriots’ offseason moves as OTAs begin as well as promote next weekend’s Best Buddies charity event.
The biggest changes on the roster have come at wide receiver.
“There’s quite a few new guys on the roster, certainly at the receiver position, almost the entire group,” Brady said. “So, as many days of practice as we can get, as many opportunities that we can have to actually get out there and throw the ball together in a competitive environment, I think that’s where the improvement comes. We’ve only had two days of practice.
“It’s a very competitive position. I think there’s a lot of positions that are very competitive on our team. I’m excited to see — at this point, the work that we’ve put in, how well it’s paid off.”
The most heralded new receiver is former Ram Danny Amendola, who worked out with Brady in Los Angeles recently.
“Danny, he’s always had a lot of talent,” Brady said. “To watch him out there and play against him — when he was at the Rams he was very productive. It’s been fun to work with him. He’s got the tenacity to him and the drive and the determination and the work ethic. In a short period of time, it’s really easy to see. Like I said, he’s one of those guys where the more we throw, the better we’re going to be. So, we’re trying to always kind of talk and communicate through practice, through OTAs. We threw in the spring a lot, and hopefully as the summer continues leading up to training camp, we’ll get as many reps as we can together so we’re on the same page.”
Amendola has drawn comparisons to departed free agent Wes Welker.
“They’re [at] similar positions, they’re about the same height, they’ve both got very good ability,” Brady said. “Wes was so productive for so long. I think it’s unfair to compare anyone to Wes and what he was able to accomplish in his time here. Danny, he’s just been fun to work with. I think he’s come in really with an open mind and understanding of the way that we as Patriots, the way we need to play.
“Josh [McDaniels] is trying to get everyone on our entire offense up to speed with how we’re going to play offense this year, how we’re going to try to be more consistent than we’ve been the last few years. Danny’s really taken to that; all the receivers have. And all the receivers have really had, like I said, a willingness to come in and work and listen and try to get better.”
Asked his reaction to Welker’s departure, Brady said he understands the business of the league.
“I don’t think anything surprises me any more in the NFL,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough to see things happen at different times with the greatest players of all, whether that’s Wes, or Randy Moss being traded from the Raiders, or Brett Favre playing for the Jets and the Vikings. That’s what happens. Like I said, it’s a very tough, competitive business.
“Nobody appreciated Wes more than I did and what he was able to accomplish for our team. But he’s moved on. He’s in a good situation with another great team and a great quarterback. We’ve always kind of kept in touch, we always will. He’s one of my best friends. I certainly wish him the best.”
Brady has not publicly voiced any displeasure toward management about Welker’s departure, and he explained that there’s a reason for that.
“Of course I have feelings. But those feelings are very personal to me,” he said. “I used to get caught up in anger and frustration and disappointment. But I don’t make the decisions. These things aren’t up to me. At some point you’ve got to realize the things that are out of your control. You’ve just got to let go and focus on my job and what I need to do. Because the game moves on, the team moves on. There’s only so long you can dwell on the past. At some point you’ve got to move forward.
“Like I said, my job for my team is to be the best quarterback, and not the general manager and not the coach and not the owner. It’s to try to go out there and bring my own competitiveness to the field so that those guys that I’m playing with this year can really rely on me and count on me to be the best I can be.”
|Patriots add Kevin Haslam, release R.J. Mattes||05.22.13 at 8:16 pm ET|
The Patriots made some moves on their offensive line on Wednesday, claiming tackle Kevin Haslam off waivers from the Chargers and releasing R.J. Mattes.
The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Haslam played collegiately at Rutgers, and started three games at left tackle for San Diego down the stretch of the 2012 regular season. He also spent part of the 2010 season with the Jaguars.
Mattes was a rookie free agent signed earlier this month. The 23-year-old was a four-year starter at both guard and tackle at North Carolina State. The 6-foot-6, 313-pounder was named a second-team All-ACC as a senior in 2012.
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|Forbes: Bill Belichick second-highest paid coach in America||05.22.13 at 2:47 pm ET|
According to Forbes, Bill Belichick is no longer the highest-paid coach in America.
The magazine says that Saints coach Sean Payton has surpassed the Patriots coach with a salary that will pay him roughly $8 million annually for the next five years. Belichick, who reportedly makes $7.5 million a year, is tied for second on the list with new Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
The length and amount of Belichick’s contract has always been a closely guarded secret. When he’s been asked about his employment situation, he’s revealed little.
“I don’t talk about contracts, but I would say I like working here, I like the organization — ownership, coaches, scouts, players, and the guys I work with,” Belichick said in July 2007. “I appreciate the opportunity to work here, and it’s a good situation. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”
The only thing we really know for sure is that Belichick is locked in for 2013. The day after the Patriots lost to the Ravens in the 2012 AFC title game, he said he’ll be back for this season, saying, “I’ll be here. You’ll have to deal with me again next year. I know that’s disappointing for a lot of you. Until I’m told otherwise, I plan on being here.”
When it comes to breaking down Belichick’s contractual situation, Forbes writes: “Belichick is arguably the NFL’s best tactician, evidenced by the fact that the Patriots have won 72.6% of their games and made five trips to the Super Bowl since he took over in 2000. Sean Payton’s new contract brings an end to Belichick’s two-year reign as the highest-paid coach in American sports and his three-year run as highest-paid in the NFL.”
Belichick has been a fairly regular presence on the Forbes list. In 2010, Belichick was second to then-Lakers coach Phil Jackson. But after Jackson retired followed that year, Belichick moved into the top spot at $7.5 million, and spent 2011 and 2012 in the top spot.
The list also has some other New England ties: former Patriots coach Pete Carroll, who now runs the Seahawks, makes $7 million annually. Celtics coach Doc Rivers also makes $7 million a year, according to Forbes. And Chip Kelly — the new Eagles coach by way of the University of New Hampshire and Oregon — reportedly has an annual salary of $6.5 million.
For the complete story and the list, click here.
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|Report: Patriots spent $140K in guaranteed money on UDFAs this year||05.21.13 at 11:06 pm ET|
The Patriots spent more guaranteed money on their undrafted free agents this year than any other team in the league, according to Brian McIntyre of Yahoo! Sports and NFL.com.
According to McIntyre, the Patriots apparently spent $140,000 in guaranteed money on their undrafted free agents. Wide receiver T.J. Moe (who had several other suitors) got the biggest payday, as the Mizzou product received a signing bonus of $8,000 and $22,000 in guaranteed base salary (regardless of whether or not he makes the final 53-man roster) for a total of $30,000 in guaranteed money.
In addition, according to McIntyre, several other UDFA’s also got sizable paydays. Nevada tight end Zach Sudfeld has a total of $17,000 in guaranteed money ($12,000 signing bonus and $5,000 base salary). Offensive tackle Elvis Fisher of Missouri got $15,000 in guaranteed money, while Kent State guard Josh Kline ($14,000), Tennessee fullback Ben Bartholomew ($10,000) and safety Kanorris Davis of Troy ($10,000) also got at least $10,000.
NFL teams are allowed to spend a maximum of $78,170 in signing bonuses on undrafted rookie free agents this offseason, but there are no limits to the amount of guaranteed money teams can include in deals signed by undrafted free agents.
Of course, big dollars for UDFA’s is nothing new for the Patriots. Last summer, they outbid several teams for the services of running back/return man Jeff Demps, guaranteeing him a whopping $211,000 ($200,000 base salary guarantee, $11,000 signing bonus), regardless of whether or not he made the final roster. Of course, Demps ended up spending the entire year on IR before wanting to play football part-time while also running track, so while a sizable payday for a UDFA is nice (and tells you something how that player may be regarded around the league), it’s no guarantee of future success.
|Robert Kraft: Good news on Gronkowski||05.21.13 at 5:16 pm ET|
Patriots owner Robert Kraft had good news about the most recent round of surgery for tight end Rob Gronkowski, telling reporters Tuesday that it was “as good a report as we could’ve hoped.”
“That made me feel good,” Kraft said when he heard the news about Gronkowski’s latest surgery. “I heard about it late afternoon, and once again had a chat late at night after our dinner meeting was over. And so, we just hope for the best.”
Gronkowski had his fourth surgery for a broken left forearm that he initially injured during the 2012 regular season and limited him down the stretch. In addition to the injury, there was also an troublesome infection issue. Despite the fact that initial reports indicate that the infection has cleared, the Patriots owner said Tuesday that he wouldn’t declare the infection is gone, because, he said, even doctors aren’t completely sure it won’t return.
Speaking at the NFL owners meetings — which saw Super Bowl L awarded to San Francisco and Super Bowl LI awarded to Houston — Kraft also expressed interest in a possible Boston/Providence Super Bowl sometime in the near future.
The Patriots owner said a good test run would be Super Bowl XLVIII, which is set for February in New Jersey.
“We would love one day to hold it here if it’s a good experience there,” Kraft told reporters. “We’re looking forward to seeing this experience in New York and New Jersey.
“Part of what it will require is political people in Boston and Providence coming together so we could really have the right number of hotel rooms and have the support,” Kraft said. “It would require cooperation from all of the political folks who would have to gather together and want this and come together, like they do in other parts of the country.”
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2013 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2013 NFL DRAFT
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- Patriots Claim OT Kevin Haslam; Waive R.J. Mattes
- Patriots Spend League High $140K In Guaranteed Money For UDFAs