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NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith survives challenge from Sean Gilbert, wins re-election

03.16.15 at 11:45 am ET
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NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith won re-election on Sunday night. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith won re-election on Sunday night. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith was re-elected to his post late Sunday evening.

Smith,. who had been the players’ leader since 2009, beat back a field of eight challengers, a group that including former player Sean Gilbert. A cousin of Darrelle Revis who reportedly had an instrumental role in negotiating Revis’ new contract with the Jets, Gilbert had been an outspoken critic of Smith’s for the last few years, saying that the current 10-year collective bargain agreement Smith helped strike in 2010 is a “$10 billion problem.”

(For what it’s worth, Revis surprised a few folks in the New England locker room when he tossed his hat in the ring when it came to voting for a player rep. Veteran special teams captain Matthew Slater was re-elected by the Patriots to serve as the franchise rep. If Revis had won re-election and stayed, it would have been a safe bet that he would have backed Gilbert.)

“As a union, it is your duty to decide who should and will lead,” Smith told the board of player reps. according to the Associated Press.

He added: “There will always be those who will sacrifice their dignity in a race to the bottom so that they can climb over others to get to the top. I will not join them, and no human should.”

Smith was reportedly able to win re-election on the first ballot, which meant he got 17 of a possible 32 votes in the first round of balloting to allow him to secure victory.

Read More: Darrelle Revis, DeMaurice Smith, Sean Gilbert,

Report: Stevie Johnson visiting Patriots

03.16.15 at 11:37 am ET
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Could Stevie Johnson land in New England as a free agent? (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Could Stevie Johnson land in New England as a free agent? (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The “targeting” of Stevie Johnson picks up in earnest this week.

Dianna Marie Russini of NBC4 IN Washington, who reported the Patriots were targeting the former Bills wide receiver, is reporting the wide receiver will be in Foxboro on Monday.

The 28-year-old Johnson left the Bills after the 2013 season when he was traded by Buffalo to San Francisco. This week, he was released by the 49ers after a disappointing season.

Before 2014, Johnson earned a reputation as one of the better route runners in the game. While with the Bills, Johnson caught four touchdown passes in nine games against the Patriots. The Patriots are looking for another perimeter passing threat to join Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman and the recently restructured Danny Amendola.

In seven seasons, Johnson has 31 touchdown receptions and over 4,200 yards receiving. His best seasons came in a three-year stretch between 2010-12, when he caught at least 75 passes and had over 1,000 yards receiving in each season. Johnson would figure to immediately be ahead of Aaron Dobson, Brian Tyms, Josh Boyce, Brandon Gibson and Kevin Dorsey on the depth chart.

Read More: New England Patriots, NFL free agency 2015, Stevie Johnson,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Northern Iowa RB David Johnson

03.16.15 at 9:45 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

David Johnson (David K Purdy/Getty Images)

Northern Iowa’s David Johnson helped his case with a solid performance at the NFL combine. (David K Purdy/Getty Images)

DAVID JOHNSON

Position: Running back

School: Northern Iowa

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 224 pounds

Achievements: 2014, 2013 All-MVFC first team, 2012 All-MVFC second team

What he brings: Johnson has a big, linebacker-esque body that helps him gain additional yards if he falls forward at the end of a run, according to NFL.com. He is a good receiver and has good speed if he can get into space. However, he sometimes can go down easily and stops too hard when trying to cut. Dane Brugler of CBS Sports says Johnson’s lower-body stiffness will limit his elusiveness against next-level players.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3

Notes: Johnson broke 15 school records in the 2014 season and helped guide his team to the playoffs for the 17th time in school history. He was one of the NFL combine’s top performers in the 40-yard dash (4.5 seconds), bench press (25 reps), vertical jump (41.5 inches), broad jump (127 inches) and three-cone drill (6.82 secs). NFL.com tabbed him not as an every-down kind of running back but instead someone who could operate on third downs and potentially in kick returns.

Related articles:

2015 NFL Draft Profile: David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa 

Meet the Prospect: Northern Iowa RB David Johnson

David Johnson’s determination puts the hammer down on UNI foes 

Video: Here’s Johnson in action against Missouri State in 2014.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, David Johnson,

Report: Vince Wilfork meets with Texans

03.16.15 at 12:16 am ET
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Veteran defensive lineman Vince Wilfork met with the Texans on Sunday night, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Wilfork, who played 11 seasons with the Patriots, did not have his option picked up by New England at the start of free agency.

Wilfork should find plenty of familiar faces on the Texans staff, as head coach Bill O’Brien, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, linebackers coach Mike Vrabel and quarterbacks coach George Godsey were all coaches or teammates of Wilfork during his tenure with the Patriots. Wilfork’s agent said earlier in the weekend that a certain level of familiarity is key for Wilfork when it comes to deciding where he’s going to end up.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: NFL free agency 2015, Vince Wilfork,

Resetting latest on Patriots and their own free agents

03.15.15 at 4:47 pm ET
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Alan Branch agreed to a two-year deal to remain with the Patriots. (Photo by Rob)

Alan Branch agreed to a two-year deal to remain with the Patriots. (Photo by Rob)

After five full days of free agency, here’s a look at the Patriots and the latest involving their own unrestricted free agents:

Cornerback Darrelle Revis: Signed a five-year contract with the Jets worth $70 million, with $39 million in fully guaranteed money.
Cornerback Brandon Browner: The defensive back, who did not see his option picked up by New England, signed with the Saints last Thursday, agreeing to a three-year deal worth roughly $18 million.
Safety Devin McCourty: The defensive back was not franchised, but ended up returning to the Patriots with a five-year deal worth $47.5 million, with $28.5 million guaranteed.
Offensive lineman Dan Connolly: No updates.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski: Gostkowski was franchised, and has signed his tender. He will make $4.59 million in 2015, and is expected to be the highest-paid kicker in the league.
Running back Shane Vereen: Vereen signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Giants with $5 million guaranteed.
Running back Stevan Ridley: No updates.
Linebacker Chris White: White re-signed with the Patriots, but no contract updates have been released.
Long snapper Danny Aiken: No updates. A league source indicated to WEEI.com that the belief is Aiken is expected to test the market.
Linebacker Akeem Ayers: Ayers parlayed a strong start with the Patriots into a two-year deal with the Rams.
Linebacker Jonathan Casillas: Casillas got a three-year $10.5 million deal from the Giants.
Defensive end Alan Branch: The veteran re-upped with the Patriots, signing a two-year, $6.6 million contract to remain in New England.
Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork: The veteran did not have his option picked up, but is drawing interest from multiple teams on the market — his agent said there are “five or six” teams interested in Wilfork’s services.

Read More: NFL free agency 2015,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Auburn C Reese Dismukes

03.15.15 at 4:28 pm ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Reese Dismukes (Butch Dill/Getty Images)

Auburn center Reese Dismukes excels as a pass blocker. (Butch Dill/Getty Images)

REESE DISMUKES

Position: Center

School: Auburn

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 295 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-America first team, All-SEC first team, Rimington Trophy winner for best center in college football, 2013 All-SEC first team, Rimington Trophy finalist, 2011 SEC All-Freshman team

What he brings: Scouts are excited by Dismukes’ ability to excel in pass coverage. He is considered to be very light on his feet while maintaining power in his upper body. However, there are concerns about his ability to be an effective run blocker because of his size. He has small arms, which may limit his ability to drive defensive linemen back on running plays.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-5

Notes: Dismukes missed one game in his four years with Auburn. ESPN.com ranks him as the third center and 113th overall in the draft.

Related articles:

ESPN.com: Dismukes has grown into leader on offense

Bleacher Report: Dismukes’ draft stock

Video: Dismukes talks about winning the Rimington Trophy.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, Reese Dismukes,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Indiana RB Tevin Coleman

03.15.15 at 9:52 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Tevin Coleman (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Indiana’s Tevin Coleman set a school record with 2,036 rushing yards in 2014. (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

TEVIN COLEMAN

Position: Running back

School: Indiana

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 210 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-American (unanimous, consensus), 2014 All-Big Ten first team, 2013 All-Big Ten honorable mention

What he brings: Coleman has an aggressive style of rushing and is fearless between tackles, but he acts as if every rush is a sprint and so needs to adjust his run tempo, according to NFL.com. He is capable of changing directions while keeping his balance and averaged 8.4 yards per carry last season, per CBS Sports.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3

Notes: Coleman led the country with eight 60-yard runs in 2014 and became the 18th FBS player to hit the 2,000 yard rushing mark in a single season. With his 2,036 rushing yards, Coleman set a school single-season record. His height and frame aren’t viewed as necessarily ideal for the running back position, and he ran half of last season with a broken toe.

Related articles:

2015 NFL Draft Profile: Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana

Tevin Coleman learns to take, dish out hits as nation’s quiet top rusher

Video: Here are highlights of Coleman’s 2014 season.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, Tevin Coleman,
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