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Report: Pats offer to Wes Welker ‘lower than expected’

03.13.13 at 11:34 am ET
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The Patriots offer to Wes Welker was “substantially lower than expected,” and as a result, he’s “seriously considering bolting” New England, according to Bert Breer of the NFL Network. The 31-year-old slot receiver, who caught at least 100 passes in five of the last six seasons for the Patriots, hasn’t been signed a day into the free agency period, and is now looking at offers from other teams, according to Breer.

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NFL Network apologizes for expletives about Bill Belichick

03.13.13 at 11:17 am ET
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The NFL Network offered an apology Wednesday for accidentally airing a series of expletives a day earlier, apparently from Warren Sapp, who was commenting on a discussion about Patriots coach Bill Belichick‘s draft philosophy.

During a segment with host Scott Hanson and former Patriots and Chiefs executive Scott Pioli in which Belichick was discussed, a voice can be heard off camera whispering, “It’s the same [expletive] segment we had Mike Lombardi do. The [expletive] Bill Belichick [expletive] angle.”

Hanson later appeared to make a joking reference to the incident, saying, “Warren Sapp calling me out off camera. That’s not the first time that’s happened today.”

Host Chris Rose opened Wednesday’s “Free Agency Frenzy” show with an apology:

“Before we give you the news of the day we want to offer an apology,” Rose said. “Last night during some live programming, we accidentally aired an expletive. It will not happen again, so our sincerest apology to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, the Patriots family, Robert Kraft and his entire family, a classy organization out there. Once again, it’€™s not who we are, it’€™s not what we do, and it will not happen again.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Warren Sapp,

NFL free agency update: Ravens release Bernard Pollard

03.13.13 at 10:53 am ET
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Hard-hitting strong safety Bernard Pollard, who has tormented the Patriots over his career, surprisingly was released by the Ravens on Wednesday.

Tweeted Pollard: Well Raven Nation it’s been fun. My time in Baltimore is done… Thank you!

Pollard, 28, carried a $3.25 million cap hit in 2013. His release could be a sign that the Ravens will try to retain fellow safety Ed Reed.

Pollard had 98 tackles, two sacks and one interception in 13 games last season, despite playing much of the year with cracked ribs. In seven NFL seasons, Pollard has 450 tackles (316 solo), nine sacks and nine interceptions.

Pollard has played for the Chiefs (2006-08), Texans (2009-10) and Ravens (2011-12). In the opening game of the 2008 season, he dove into the knee of Tom Brady and knocked the Patriots quarterback out for the season with a torn ACL. In the final regular-season game of 2009, he was preparing to tackle Wes Welker when the receiver tore his ACL trying to make a cut. In the 2011 AFC championship game, his tackle on Rob Gronkowski left the tight end with a sprained ankle that severely limited Gronkowski’s mobility in the Super Bowl. And in the AFC title game this past season, he knocked out running back Stevan Ridley on a hard helmet-to-helmet hit that caused Ridley to fumble the ball away. Ridley left the game with a concussion and did not return.

‘€¢ Cornerback Chris Houston has agreed to return to the Lions, according to multiple reports. Houston apparently has a five-year deal.

‘€¢ The Lions also lost a free agent, as former Boston College offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus is moving on to the Colts. Cherilus, a first-round pick (17th overall) in 2008, started 68 of 75 games over the last five seasons in Detroit. Cherilus, 28, played his high school ball in Somerville.

Read More: Bernard Pollard, Chris Houston, Gosder Cherilus,

NFL free agency update: Lions make hard push for Reggie Bush

03.13.13 at 9:54 am ET
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The Lions continue their aggressive pursuit of Dolphins free agent running back Reggie Bush, reportedly telling Bush on Tuesday that he can start ahead of Mikel Leshoure.

Bush is rumored to be considering the Cardinals, Redskins and Bengals as well, with an eye toward the team that will give him the best opportunity. He rushed for 986 yards last season.

“Reggie has a tough decision to go through,” a source close to Bush told Yahoo! Sport’s Jason Cole. “He’s very careful about how he considers these situations. He asks a lot of questions and wants to know all the ins and outs about how a team wants to use him.

“But, you know, in his heart, he wants to play all the time.”

‘€¢ Rams free agent receiver Brandon Gibson reportedly has a visit scheduled with the Jets on Wednesday, with the Dolphins waiting should New York not make an acceptable offer. Gibson caught 51 passes for 691 yards and touchdowns in 16 games (13 starts) last season.

‘€¢ Defensive lineman Mike DeVito joined the exodus out of New York, leaving the Jets to sign a reported three-year, $12 million deal with the Chiefs. The 28-year-old DeVito, a Cape Cod native and University of Maine product, started the past three seasons for the Jets.

‘€¢ The Chiefs also acquired tight end Anthony Fasano, who caught 41 passes for 332 yards and five touchdowns in 2012, his fifth season with the Dolphins. Fasano, 28, started his pro career with two seasons in Dallas.

‘€¢ According to multiple reports, the Buccaneers are making a push to acquire Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, with the Eagles in the picture as well. The Jets, desperate for cap space, reportedly restructured the contracts of receiver Santonio Holmes and cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

‘€¢ In addition to landing receiver Mike Wallace on Tuesday, the Dolphins acquired Ravens free agent linebacker Dannell Ellerbe as well. Ellerbe’s deal is said to be worth $35 million over five years. Ellerbe, 27, had 66 tackles (43 solo) and 4.5 sacks last season, his fourth in Baltimore.

‘€¢ The Ravens, who lost Ellerbe and Paul Kruger (Browns), picked up defensive lineman Chris Canty, reportedly for $8 million over three years. The 6-foot-7, 317-pound Canty, 30, had three sacks in nine games for the Giants last season. Canty played for the Cowboys from 2005-08 before joining the Giants.

‘€¢ The Bears picked up a couple of assets in tight end Martellus Bennett and offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod. Bennett, signed for four years, had 55 catches for 626 yards and five touchdowns for the Giants last season. Bushrod, 28, spent the past six seasons with the Saints, starting at left tackle the last four years. His five-year deal is worth a reported $35.965 million.

‘€¢ The Broncos added some protection for Peyton Manning, signing former Chargers guard Louis Vasquez to a four-year, $23.5 million deal, according to USA Today. Vasquez, a third-round pick of the Chargers in 2009, started 54 games in San Diego, including all 16 last season.

‘€¢ The Titans signed a tight end and lost one, bringing in Delanie Walker while seeing Jared Cook head to the Rams, according to multiple reports.

‘€¢ The Chargers agreed to a two-year deal with Eagles free agent offensive tackle King Dunlap, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The 6-foot-9, 330-pound Dunlap, who started 12 games in Philadelphia last season, reportedly could earn as much as $6 million under his new contract. Dunlap, 27, was a seventh-round draft pick in 2008 and has spent his entire career in Philadelphia.

Read More: Anthony Fasano, Brandon Gibson, Dannell Ellerbe, Darrelle Revis

Updates on Josh Cribbs, Danny Amendola and how their situations might affect the Wes Welker sweepstakes

03.13.13 at 12:44 am ET
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Three more notes before the end of the night:

‘€¢ The Josh Cribbs saga continues. After a report from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer at the start of the day that linked the return man to New England, a Fox Sports report later dismissed the idea, and said that Cribbs could be ticketed to the Cardinals. But late Tuesday evening, another report from Mary-Kay Cabot of the P-D indicates that Cribbs has narrowed it down to New England and Arizona. (She reports the Niners were in the mix for a bit, but have since dropped out.) Cabot is also reporting that there is interest in both sides in a trade that would send Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett to the Browns. Cleveland’s new personnel chief Mike Lombardi is tight with Bill Belichick, and Lombardi has expressed his admiration for Mallett in the past on more than one occasion.

‘€¢ Multiple outlets are now reporting that the market has started to narrow for slot receiver Danny Amendola, with the Ravens and Eagles in the market. Amendola, who has had a tough run of injuries as of late, caught 63 passes in 11 games in 2012, with 666 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the NFL in all purpose yards in 2010, with 689 reception yards (on 85 receptions), 452 punt return yards and 1,142 kickoff return yards. Amendola certainly makes sense from a Baltimore perspective, as the Ravens recently dealt slot receiver Anquan Boldin to the Niners for a draft pick.

‘€¢ Both the Cribbs and Amendola situations would affect Welker, as New England could potentially view the younger slot receiver as a potential replacement for Welker — if Welker signs elsewhere soon (or, at least before Amendola and maybe Cribbs), the Patriots could enter into the bidding.

Read More: Anquan Boldin, Bill Belichick, Danny Amendola, Josh Cribbs

Patrick Chung signs with Eagles

03.12.13 at 8:35 pm ET
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Defensive back Patrick Chung signed with the Eagles on Tuesday, ending a four-year career with the Patriots.

The 5-foot-11, 210-pounder, who will be reunited with his former college coach, Chip Kelly, had issues with injury in his time in New England, struggling to stay on the field and starting 30 out of a possible 64 regular-season games with the Patriots. His best season was 2010, when he started 13 games (a career-high) and finished with 96 tackles (72 solo), three interceptions and nine passes defensed (all career-bests).

Chung is the second member of New England’s draft class to depart — offensive lineman Donald Thomas signed with the Colts earlier in the day.

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Patriots lose free agent lineman Donald Thomas to Colts

03.12.13 at 5:45 pm ET
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The Colts have come to terms with offensive lineman Donald Thomas, who started seven games last season for the Patriots.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder out of UConn, who has also played for the Lions and Dolphins over the course of his career, played in all 16 games for New England last season, and proved to be an important part of a Patriots’ offensive line that had several moving parts over the course of the 2012 season.

Thomas is the first member of New England’s free agent class to sign elsewhere.

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