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Patriots sign former Boston College linebacker Ricky Brown 08.20.11 at 1:15 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots have added another inside linebacker, as the announced via twitter Saturday that they have agreed to terms with former Boston College linebacker Ricky Brown.

Brown had played his entire career with the Raiders after joining them as an undrafted free agent in 2006. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder spent time on Oakland’s practice squad before being activated as a rookie and played the last five seasons in Oakland as a middle linebacker. In his career, the 27-year-old has 102 tackles and four passes defensed.

Last season, his final one with the Raiders, Brown had one start one start and recorded 13 total tackles and one pass defensed over 14 games.

Read More: 2011 training camp, Patriots signings, Ricky Brown,
A closer look at Shaun Ellis and his impact 08.07.11 at 12:11 pm ET
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Shaun Ellis crushes Joe Flacco in a game last season. (AP)

Suddenly, Vince Wilfork isn’t one of the biggest guys on New England’s defensive front anymore.

Pending a physical, the Patriots will apparently add 34-year-old Shaun Ellis to their defensive line in 2011. If the 6-foot-5, 290-pounder has anything left in the tank after 11 seasons with the Jets, it will add serious depth to New England’s run and pass defense, likely from the end position either in a 3-4 or 4-3 — both of which appear to be options for the Patriots in 2011.

While Ellis has fit neatly into both schemes over the course of his career, his work as an end in the 4-3 would give New England a four-man defensive front of Ellis, as well as Wilfork (6-foot-2, 325 pounds) and Albert Haynesworth (6-foot-6, 335 pounds), a massive defensive front that would be difficult to run against. (His versatility also provides some insurance if Haynesworth does break down physically.)

In addition, Ellis has shown an ability to generate some pass rush over the course of his career. He’s not the sort to generate double-digits sacks anymore, but his 72.5 sacks over the course of his career (including 4.5 last season) suggest the sort of player who can get after the quarterback on a fairly consistent basis — he’s had at least 4.5 sacks every year since 2005. (However, at least right now, newly-acquired Mark Anderson is still likely the best bet to serve as a defensive end on passing downs.)

The loss of Ellis hurts the Jets on the field and in the locker room, where he was one of the more respected leaders on a team full of veterans. The longest-tenured member of the team, he completely crushed the Patriots in last year’s playoff meeting between the two teams, recording two sacks in the first quarter and setting the tone for New York’s victory at Gillette Stadium. In addition, it figures that Ellis will have an ax to grind with his old team, which could add some zest to an already spicy Jets-Patriots rivalry in 2011. And finally, there’s a neat symmetry at play here — in 2000, Ellis was the pick used by the Jets they received when Bill Belichick switched organizations.

When it comes to playing time going forward, New England has played a lot of four-man lines in camp this far, so the addition of Ellis means Jermaine Cunningham and Eric Moore would see a cut in time if the Patriots stay with a four-man front. The two have seen the majority of time at end in the four-man front throughout the early days of camp, and both have been a bit of a mixed bag.

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Bill Belichick, Eric Moore, Jermaine Cunningham
A closer look at what Matt Light’s new deal means for Patriots 07.31.11 at 10:55 pm ET
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Matt Light

Left tackle Matt Light has agreed to a two-year contract with the Patriots, according to The Boston Globe. The 33-year-old Light, who was selected in the second round of the 2001 draft by the Patriots, has spent his entire 10-year career with New England, and has been a part of three Super Bowl champions.

The terms of the agreement were not revealed, but it’s safe to say that two things led to the return of the Purdue product: One, after New England selected left tackle Nate Solder in the first round of the 2011 draft, it was believed that Light’s days in New England were numbered. However, the lockout kept the rookie out of the facility over the entire offseason — in fact, he’s not in camp as of yet, having not yet agreed to a rookie deal — which means Solder will need more time than usual to get acclimated to protecting Tom Brady‘s blind side.

Two, the recent release of tackle Nick Kaczur leaves the Patriots a little thin at the position, and the return of Light could provide the necessary depth at the spot in 2011. (It’s also a safe bet that some of the money that was freed up on the release of Kaczur went to Light and his new deal.)

Going forward, Light — who isn’t allowed to practice until Aug. 4 because of the new rules in the collective bargaining agreement regarding new contracts — figures to be the starting left tackle in 2011, as Solder waits in the wings to eventually take over at the position.

Read More: Matt Light, Nate Solder, nick kaczur, Patriots signings
Ryan Mallett tweets that he’s signing with Patriots 07.29.11 at 10:05 am ET
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Ryan Mallett

It appears the Patriots third-round pick, quarterback Ryan Mallett, is ready to sign on the bottom line and join the team Friday.

The former Arkansas signal-caller tweeted, Headed to sign my contract. I can’t wait to get out there. #blessed #livingmydreams.

WEEI.com’s Christopher Price had reported that Mallett was close to inking a four-year deal with the team on Thursday night and that he would possibly be able to join the Pats the following day. While in college, Mallett threw for 3,869 yards and 32 touchdowns his junior year for Arkansas before deciding to forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft where he was taken 74th overall by New England.

Read More: Patriots signings, Ryan Mallett,
Patriots close to deal with third-round pick Ryan Mallett at 12:38 am ET
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The Patriots and quarterback Ryan Mallett were close on a deal Thursday night, so close that the rookie could be in camp and ready to go as soon as Friday morning, according to a source. Mallett, who was taken with the 74th overall pick in the draft, is apparently set to sign a four-year deal. The 6-foot-7, 253-pound Mallett had 3,869 yards and 32 touchdowns this past year with the Razorbacks, but character questions caused him to fall to the third round of the draft.

Read More: Patriots signings, Ryan Mallett,
Patriots officially announce two more draft picks in the fold 07.28.11 at 8:34 pm ET
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Stevan Ridley joins the Patriots after playing running back for LSU. (AP)

The Patriots officially announced the signings of third-round draft choice Stevan Ridley and seventh-round draft choice Malcolm Williams. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed. Here’s a portion of the press release issued by the team on the agreements:

Ridley, a running back from Louisiana State, was selected by the Patriots in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft with the 73rd selection overall. Ridley, 5-11, 225 pounds, became the 13th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season with 1,147 rushing yards in 2010. His 15 touchdowns runs in 2010 tied Kevin Faulk (1997) for the fourth most in team history.

Williams, a defensive back from Texas Christian University, was selected by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft with the 219th selection overall. Williams, 5-11, 200 pounds, originally signed with Oklahoma but ended up at Trinity Community College before going to Texas Christian University for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He contributed at safety and special teams at Texas Christian.

Read More: 2011 training camp, Kevin Faulk, Malcolm Williams, Patriots signings
Patriots sign third-round pick Stevan Ridley at 4:10 pm ET
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The Patriots signed third-round pick running back Stevan Ridley on Thursday, as his agent announced the pact via twitter. Tweeted agent Andy Simms: “Stevan Ridley is all ready to join Patriots. Signed this morning.”

The Pats took running backs in back-to-back rounds in April’s draft, as they selected Cal’s Shane Vereen in the second round before tabbing Ridley out of LSU in the third. The two will join Danny Woodhead, Sammy Morris and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, all three of whom will be returning from last year’s team.

Not blessed with tremendous speed, Ridley is a hard runner who figures to contribute more by running running at people than by trying to maneuver around them. He wasn’t a contributor in the passing game in college and doesn’t figure to be in the NFL. Ridley had 1,147 yards on 249 carries last year as a junior. He had 15 rushing touchdowns.

Read More: 2011 NFL Signings, Patriots signings, Stevan Ridley,
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