|History shows Patriots will continue making moves between now and NFL draft||03.30.16 at 12:01 pm ET|
While most NFL teams are now turning their attention towards the NFL draft, free agency is still ongoing and teams are still signing players.
Keeping in mind the draft is roughly a month away — April 28-30 — history shows the Patriots likely will be making a move or two before then.
Here is a look at the moves the Patriots have made over the years in April leading up to the draft.
March 31: Re-signed OL Ryan Wendell
April 3: Signed S Patrick Chung
April 10: Signed DT Tommy Kelly
April 11: Re-signed WR Julian Edelman
April 16: Re-signed TE Michael Hoomanawanui
April 5: Signed LB Bobby Carpenter
April 16: Re-signed C Dan Koppen, signed K Chris Koepplin
April 2: Signed DT Damione Lewis
April 14: Signed P David King
April 17: Re-signed K Stephen Gostkowski
April 19: Re-signed LB Pierre Woods
April 20: Signed WR Torry Holt
April 24: Signed DT Gerard Warren
|5 players who make sense for Patriots following first day of NFL free agency||03.09.16 at 11:06 pm ET|
As expected, it was a busy day Wednesday across the National Football League, with numerous deals being agreed upon and a ton of money exchanging hands. And as expected, the Patriots watched from afar and didn’t get involved in any bidding matches for players.
This is typically the approach New England takes in free agency, as it sits back and lets the dust settle before starting to go after players, which is usually why it rarely lands big name free agents — with a few exceptions, namely Darrelle Revis.
While the Patriots didn’t make any major moves — the only signing they made was backup linebacker Ramon Humber — a few players the Patriots seemed to have some interest in got signed by other teams. Chris Ivory (Jaguars), Matt Forte (Jets), Lamar Miller (Texans), Rishard Matthews (Titans) and Marvin Jones (Lions) are all off the board and Mohamad Sanu reportedly has a visit with the Falcons. Sanu is said to have a visit with New England planned after, but if Atlanta has its way, Sanu won’t leave town without signing.
With that being said, here’s a look at five players who make sense for the Patriots now that the first day of free agency is in the books.
Despite being 35 years old, Boldin has still been able to produce even with below average quarterbacks throwing him the ball. The wide out finished the 2015 campaign with 69 catches for 789 yards and four touchdowns. He had two straight 1,000-yard seasons in 2013 and 2014 with the 49ers. Boldin has played 13 seasons in the league — the first seven with the Cardinals, three with the Ravens and the last three with the 49ers.
With Boldin being 35 years old, he’s likely more concerned about winning games opposed to getting paid, which is a good sign for New England and Patriots have checked in on him, according to CSNNE’s Mike Giardi. He’s a physical receiver who will battle for every pass thrown to him — a dream for Tom Brady. With Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski already big parts of the offense, Boldin would just be asked to be a quality No. 3 receiver, which might make the Patriots an ideal fit.
According to Pro Football Talk, the Patriots are one of four teams to check in on Anderson, joining the Dolphins, 49ers and Bears. The thing with the Broncos running back is he isn’t an unrestricted free agent. Anderson was tendered by the Broncos at the lowest level, giving them only a right to match any offer if he signs elsewhere. If a team signs Anderson to an offer sheet, the Broncos will have five days to match. If they don’t, Anderson will get to go to that team and the Broncos will get no compensation.
Anderson may most be known for his meeting with Brady after the AFC championship game, but on the field he had a solid season rushing for 720 yards and five touchdowns. He also has shown an ability to catch passes out of the backfield, catching 25 and 34 passes the last two seasons respectively. The one thing to keep in mind with Anderson is Denver has a chance to match an offer given to him, so if they see the Patriots are interested they may do everything in their power to prevent it from happening.
|Wednesday late afternoon roundup: Patriots appear to have interest in RB C.J. Anderson, S Tavon Wilson to Lions||at 5:20 pm ET|
Now that the 2016 league year has begun, a number of moves have come out with a few impacting the Patriots.
— The Patriots have expressed interest in Broncos running back C.J. Anderson, according to Pro Football Talk. The Dolphins, 49ers, and Bears also have expressed interest in the 25-year-old. It should be noted the Broncos tendered Anderson at the lowest level, giving them only a right to match any offer if he signs elsewhere. If a team signs Anderson to an offer sheet, the Broncos will have five days to match. If they don’t, Anderson will get to go to that team and the Broncos will get no compensation.
— Aside from Mohamad Sanu having a visit scheduled with the Patriots after the Falcons, the Patriots have expressed interest in a few other receivers. CSNNE’s Mike Giardi reports New England has checked in on Anquan Boldin, James Jones and Nate Washington.
— The Patriots officially didn’t submit qualifying offers for wide receiver Josh Boyce, offensive tackle Kevin Hughes, defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, linebacker Jerod Mayo and wide receiver Brian Tyms, making them unrestricted free agents. For Mayo this doesn’t change his status, it just means he hasn’t officially filed his retirement papers.
— Former Patriots safety Tavon Wilson tweeted he’s signing with the Lions, joining former Patriots executive and current Lions general manager Bob Quinn. Quinn may have had a say in selecting Wilson in the second-round of the 2012 draft.
— This isn’t free agent news, but the Patriots worked out the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Alabama running back Derrick Henry, according to the NFL Network’s Chase Goodbread.
|5 free agents who make sense for Patriots with new league year approaching||03.07.16 at 10:53 pm ET|
Although the 2016 league year won’t begin until Wednesday, the legal tampering period is underway as teams can negotiate with unrestricted free agents, but no deals can be announced until Wednesday.
When it comes to potential positional free agent needs, running back and wide receiver stand out. New England needs an immediate impact running back to complement Dion Lewis and also a No. 3 wide receiver who can immediately connect with Tom Brady.
The Patriots haven’t been linked to any unrestricted free agents as of Monday night, but here are five unrestricted free agents who make sense for the Patriots.
(For an extensive look at most of these players and more, check out our free agent snapshot series from a few weeks back.)
Ivory could be the perfect running back to go along side Lewis, as Ivory is at his best when running in between the tackles and picking up the tough yards. Listed at 6-feet, 220 pounds, he isn’t afraid of contact either. The 27-year-old is coming off his best season as a professional, as he had 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns with the Jets. With Brady getting older, not younger, a dependable running game would benefit the entire offense taking some of the pressure off Brady’s right arm.
As always with the Patriots and free agents, money will be the biggest issue. Ivory could be looking for a big deal with this likely being his last time to cash in before he turns 30. But, because of the number of running backs also on the market (Matt Forte, Doug Martin, Lamar Miller), this could effect Ivory’s demand and thus bring down the value of his deal. As of late Monday, seven teams reportedly were interested in the running back, including the Raiders and Buccaneers.
The Bengals wide receiver had a down year in 2015, but had a breakout year in 2014. Sanu finished the 2014 season with 56 catches for 790 yards and five touchdowns, but had just 33 catches for 394 yards this past season. He’s been able to stay healthy, playing in all 16 games for the past three years. Sanu is 6-foot-2 and has the ability to play outside the numbers, which is the type of receiver the Patriots need with Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola inside.
Sanu makes sense for the Patriots for two notable reasons. One, he’s a Rutgers graduate and everyone knows the Patriots’ connection with the Scarlet Knights. Second, Sanu is coming off a down year, so his value isn’t as high as it was a year ago at this time. This is generally a situation Bill Belichick likes to take advantage of, so it would not be a surprise to see the Patriots linked to Sanu.
|Free agent snapshot: Anquan Boldin||02.13.16 at 11:45 am ET|
When free agency begins in early March, there are a handful of players across the league who could appeal to New England. With the understanding that the status of these players could change because of the franchise or transition tag, here are a few possibilities for the Patriots to consider. We have to stress that all of these guys aren’t necessarily considered the elite of the free agent class — instead, they’re players we think would be a good fit in New England. We started with running back Matt Forte. Now, we move on to wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
Player: Anquan Boldin
Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 220 pounds
Age: 35 (will turn 36 on Oct. 3, 2016)
The skinny: Boldin is not the overwhelming offensive presence he was a few years back (he had more than 1,000 yards receiving in seven of the 12 seasons he was in the league prior to 2015), but he has remained a very good receiver well into his second decade in the league. A presence at all three levels in the passing game, he’s had 1,009 catches, 13,195 yards and 74 touchdowns in his 13 seasons in the NFL (with the Cards, Ravens and Niners). From a personal perspective, the 35-year-old finished with 789 receiving yards last season — his lowest output since he had 623 in his second year with the league in 2004 — but you could argue that was because the Niners were a shell of themselves offensively last year and Boldin was one of the few consistent offensive options they had. He finished the year with 69 catches and while he’s not a deep threat, he did have an 11.4 yards per catch average. (For comparisons sake, that would have put him second on the Patriots behind Rob Gronkowski in terms of pass catchers with at least 40 receptions on the year.) A terrific and tough presence on the field (he broke his face a few years ago and returned to the field a few weeks later), the 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award Winner still has a lot to offer any team who might be interested in him, especially in an offseason that figures to light on free-agent options at wide receiver.
By the numbers: Boldin’s 13,195 career receiving yards put him 17th on the list of all-time leaders. The only active players who are ahead of him are Andre Johnson (ninth, 14,100), Steve Smith Sr. (11th, 13,932) and Larry Fitzgerald (15th, 13,366).
|Recapping our free agent snapshot series||02.09.14 at 4:39 pm ET|
Here’s our complete list of free agent possibilities for the Patriots we’ve profiled so far with links to each post, complete with a snapshot as to how each might fit in Foxboro. (We’ll add to this in the upcoming week.)
|Free agent snapshot: Anquan Boldin||01.27.14 at 1:36 pm ET|
When free agency begins in early March, there are a handful of players across the league who could appeal to New England. Over the next two weeks — with the understanding that the status of these players could change because of the franchise or transition tag — we’ll look at 10 possibilities for the Patriots to consider. We have to stress that these guys aren’t necessarily considered the elite of the free agent class — instead, they are players we think would be a good fit in New England. We kick off the series with wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
Position: Wide receiver
Age: 33 (will turn 34 on Oct. 3)
Weight: 223 pounds
The skinny: The veteran is likely near the end of a very impressive career, but clearly still has something left in the tank, as evidenced by the 85 catches for 1,179 receiving yards and seven touchdowns he had last year with San Francisco. He’s consistent (he’s never had fewer than 56 catches in a season), durable (he’s never played fewer than 14 games a season over the last five years) and has an excellent locker room reputation (witness this story that surfaced months after he joined the Niners). The idea of Boldin New England is something we pushed for last year, and things haven’t changed.
By the numbers: Per ESPN Stats & Information, Boldin has distinguished himself as an elite playoff performer: since he entered the league in 2003, Boldin’s four 100-plus yard receiving games are tied for first in the league during that span. His 1,033 receiving yards are second most and his eight touchdowns fourth most in that stretch.
Why it would work: Boldin is a highly-regarded veteran who would serve as something of a guiding presence for some of New England’s pass catchers. One of the toughest guys in the league — he broke his face a few years ago and was back in the lineup three weeks later — he wouldn’t make the Patriots receiving corps any younger, but he could serve as a leader for a relatively younger group in need of a positive role model. The Patriots would be a team that would be considered to be in the mix for a Super Bowl, which would allow Boldin to (presumably) end his career on an up note. (For what it’s worth, Boldin was a possibility for the Patriots as a free agent in 2010, but ended up going to the Ravens.)
Why it might not work: Money. The Patriots need to create some financial flexibility for themselves between now and the start of the new league year in March, and even if they’re able to do that, they still might not be inclined to spend on a veteran wide receiver, preferring instead to put their financial resources toward landing a tight end of defensive tackle, two other areas of need this offseason. It also sounds like Boldin grew very comfortable with the Niners in his first season in San Francisco — in the wake of the loss to the Seahawks in the NFC title game, he tweeted, “Thank you 49ers fans for embracing my family and I during our first year in San Francisco. Your support this year was amazing.” First year. And honestly, the Niners would be crazy if they somehow didn’t go strong to try to retain him for 2014.
Quote: “Anquan Boldin is a valuable, valuable player and every player should aspire and practice and play the game of football like Anquan Boldin. … Comes to work, goes home, comes back to work and kicks ass.” — Niners coach Jim Harbaugh on Boldin
Our take: From this viewpoint, Boldin would be a terrific addition to a Patriots offense that needs a world-class veteran presence who could serve as something of a role model for the younger receivers. It seems like a bit of a longshot right now, but if the Patriots could somehow find a way to make the cash work, it would make sense to try and get him on a two-year deal — nothing more — for relatively short money.
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