Off-Season Central: Busy Pats Bring Back Talib, Arrington, Add Wilson; Release Lloyd
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With NFL free agency underway, the New England Patriots have begun retooling its roster for the 2013 season. Track the teams moves here.
Saturday, March 16:
The Patriots officially announced four roster moves Saturday to continue what has been a busy first week of NFL free agency.
New England re-signed unrestricted free agents cornerback Kyle Arrington and cornerback Aqib Talib in addition to signing veteran free agent safety Adrian Wilson. Terms of the contracts were not announced but multiple media reports say Arrington signed for four years, Talib for one year and Wilson for three years.
Arrington, 26, has spent the last four seasons with New England after joining the Patriots’ practice squad on Sept. 21, 2009. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder, was signed to the New England 53-man roster from the practice squad on Nov. 8, 2009.
Arrington originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Philadelphia out of Hofstra in 2008. He began the 2009 season on the Philadelphia practice squad before finishing the season on the Tampa Bay practice squad. Arrington began the 2009 season on Tampa Bay’s practice squad but was signed to the 53-man roster prior to the Buccaneers’ season-opener against Dallas.
He made his NFL debut against the Cowboys on special teams. Arrington was waived by Tampa Bay on Sept. 14 and joined the New England practice squad on Sept. 21.
Arrington has played in 57 NFL games with 40 starts and has 217 total tackles, eight interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, 28 passes defensed and 52 special teams tackles. In 2011, he tied Charles Woodson and Eric Weddle for the NFL lead with seven interceptions. Last season, Arrington started in 12 of 16 games and finished with 67 total tackles, 10 passes defesned, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and nine special teams tackles.
Arrington took to Twitter after agreeing to terms on a new deal with the Patriots.
"Thankful and blessed for another opportunity," Arrington said via his Twitter handle, @Arrington24_7. "Extremely grateful for all the support from the New England community and beyond."
Wilson, 33, is a veteran of 12 NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2001-12). The 6-foot-3, 230 pounder, originally entered the NFL as a third-round (64th pick overall) draft choice by the Cardinals out of North Carolina State in 2001. He was released by Arizona on March 8.
Wilson has played in 181 career games with 162 starts and compiled 716 tackles, 25.5 sacks and 27 interceptions in his 12 years with the Cardinals. He holds the NFL record for most sacks in a single season by a defensive back (8), is the Cardinals’ all-time leader in passes defensed (99) and forced fumbles (15), and his 99-yard interception return for a touchdown in 2006 is tied with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for the longest in team history.
Wilson has earned Pro Bowl honors five times (2006, 2008-11) and All-Pro honors in four times (2006, 2008-09, 2011). He is just the sixth player in NFL history to record 25 sacks and 25 interceptions.
Wilson also took to Twitter to share the news.
"Really excited about this opportunity," Wilson said via his Twitter handle, @adrian_wilson24. "Great fans and great team."
Former Patriots safety Lawyer Milloy said Wilson will be just what the Patriots need on defense.
"What a great pick up," Milloy said of Wilson via his Twitter handle, @LawyerMilloy. "The enforcer that's been missing in the Patriots secondary!! D just got better!!"
Talib, 27, was originally drafted by Tampa Bay in the first round (20th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Kansas. He was acquired by New England in a trade with Tampa Bay on Nov. 1, 2012 in exchange for a 2013 fourth round draft pick. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has played in 64 NFL games with 50 starts and has accumulated 228 total tackles, 19 interceptions with four returned for touchdowns, 60 passes defensed, two forced fumble and two fumble recovery.
He started in two postseason games last season with the Patriots and added 10 total tackles and one pass defensed. He played in four games for the Buccaneers in 2012 and registered 20 tackles, one interception and defensed seven passes. Talib started in five of six games for New England last season after the trade, and compiled 19 tackles and in interception that he returned 59 yards for a touchdowns. He returned his only pick with the Patriots 59 yards for a touchdown in his first start with the team vs. Indianapolis on Nov. 18, 2012.
Patriots Release WR Brandon Lloyd
The New England Patriots announced Saturday the release of veteran wide receiver Brandon Lloyd.
Lloyd, 31, joined New England as an unrestricted free agent from St. Louis on March 20, 2012. The 6-foot, 200-pounder, is a veteran of 10 NFL seasons with San Francisco (2003-05), Washington (2006-07), Chicago (2008), Denver (2009-11), St. Louis (2011) and New England (2012).
Lloyd was originally drafted by San Francisco in the fourth round (124th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Illinois. He was traded by San Francisco to Washington in 2006. After being released by Washington in 2008, he was signed by Chicago for a season in 2008 before being signed by Denver in 2009. Lloyd started the first four games of the 2011 season with Denver before being traded to St. Louis on Oct. 17 where he started in 10 of 11 games.
Last season with New England, Lloyd started in 15 of 16 games and finished with 74 receptions for 911 yards and four touchdowns. He started in two postseason games and added 12 receptions for 102 yards and one touchdown.
Lloyd has played in 128 NFL games with 88 starts and has registered 385 receptions for 5,695 yards with 35 touchdowns during his 10 NFL seasons.
Friday, March 15:
Locally, the biggest news from the first week of free agency was also the hardest for Patriots fans to come to terms with … Wes Welker leaving Foxborough for Denver.
Patriots fans widely blamed the team for Welker’s departure, calling the receiver’s exodus a “big mistake” by the team.
Hours after news broke of Welker’s decision to sign with Denver, the Patriots announced the signing of wide receiver Danny Amendola to a 5-year contract.
“We are excited about Danny’s addition to our team and we look forward to beginning work with him this spring and into the future,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Amendola, 27, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams. The 5-foot-11, 188-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Dallas in 2008 out of Texas Tech. He spent the entire 2008 season on the Dallas practice squad before being signed to the Philadelphia practice squad for the playoffs.
Amendola began the 2009 season on the Philadelphia practice squad before being signed to the St. Louis 53-man roster on Sept. 22, 2009. He led the NFL in kickoff returns (66), kickoff return yards (1,618) and total return yards (1,978) with the Rams that season.
He led the NFL in all-purpose yards in 2010 with 2,364 yards with 689 receiving yards, 81 rushing yards, 452 punt return yards and 1,142 kickoff return yards.
Amendola has played in 42 NFL games with 17 starts and has accumulated 196 receptions for 1,726 yards and seven touchdowns, returned 89 punts for 934 yards and returned 188 kickoffs for 2,776 yards. His best statistical season was in 2010 when he caught 85 passes for 689 yards and three touchdowns.
Last season, Amendola played in 11 games with eight starts and caught 63 passes for 666 yards and three touchdowns, returned 17 punts for 122 yards and returned two kickoffs for 16 yards.
On Thursday, the Patriots announced the signing of running back and return specialist Leon Washington to a one-year deal.
Washington, 30, is a veteran of seven NFL seasons with the New York Jets (2006-09) and the Seattle Seahawks (2010-12). The 5-foot-8, 203 pounder, originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round (117th pick overall) draft choice by the Jets out of Florida State in 2006. He was traded by the Jets to the Seahawks on April 24, 2010 for a 2010 fifth-round draft choice. Washington was released by Seattle on March 12, 2013.
Washington shares the NFL record with Josh Cribbs (Cleveland) with eight career kickoff returns for touchdowns. He also tied an NFL record when he returned two kicks for a touchdown in a game against San Diego in 2010. Washington earned Pro Bowl honors in 2008 and 2012 and All-Pro honors in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Washington has played in 103 NFL games with 14 starts and has registered 473 rushing attempts for 2,213 yards and 16 touchdowns, and 146 receptions for 1,127 yards and two touchdowns. He has also returned 168 punts for 1,668 yards and 244 kickoffs for 6,315 yards and eight touchdowns.
On Friday, the Patriots announced the signing of Donald Jones to a 3-year deal.
Jones, 25, is a veteran of three NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills. The 6-foot, 208-pounder, originally entered the NFL with Buffalo as a rookie free agent out of Youngstown State in 2010. He has played in 35 NFL games with 22 starts and has 82 receptions for 887 yards and six touchdowns. Last season, Jones played in 12 games with 10 starts and finished with 41 receptions for 443 yards and four touchdowns.
In two games against the Patriots in 2012, Jones hauled in eight passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns, including a career long 68-yard catch in Buffalo, according to ESPN.com.
Also on Friday, news broke the Patriots had re-signed cornerback Kyle Arrington to a four-year, $16 million deal ($8.5 million guaranteed). Read more on the signing from ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss by clicking here.
In addition to Welker’s departure, the Patriots have lost three other players to free agency as of Friday:
- Safety Patrick Chung signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, joining his college coach Chip Kelly in Philly. Chung thanked Patriots Nation on his Twitter handle for their support during his four-year career in New England.
- Guard Donald Thomas signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
Woodhead’s agent, Chris Gittings, according to Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, offered the following statement Friday:
"There's a part of me that's sad," said Gittings said. "We'll have lifetime memories of the time in New England. He felt a special relationship with the fans. He loved them, and he knew they loved him. He was very appreciative of the opportunity the Patriots gave him."
In three seasons with the Patriots, Woodhead ran the ball 250 times for 1,199 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught 92 passes for 982 yards and four touchdowns. In 2012, Woodhead totaled 76 carries for 301 yards and four touchdowns to go with 40 receptions for 446 yards and three touchdowns, according to ESPN.com.
Patriots Free Agent Acquisitions
In no order:
- Danny Amendola, WR (played last season with the St. Louis Rams)
- Leon Washington, RB/KR (played last season with the Seattle Seahawks)
- Donald Jones, WR (played last season with the Buffalo Bills)
- Kyle Arrington, CB (re-signed with Patriots)
- Aqib Talib, CB (re-signed with Patriots)
- Adrian Wilson, S (played last season with the Arizona Cardinals)
Patriots Free Agent Departures
In no order:
- Wes Welker, WR (signed with Denver)
- Danny Woodhead, RB (signed with San Diego)
- Donald Thomas, OG (signed with Indianapolis)
- Patrick Chung, S (signed with Philadelphia)
Current Patriots Free Agents
In no order:
- Sebastian Vollmer, OT
- Julian Edelman, WR
- Will Allen, CB
- Josh Barrett, S
- Deion Branch, WR
- Marquice Cole, CB
- Tony Flammetta, RB
- Niko Koutouvides, LB
- Derrick Martin, S
- Myron Pryor, DT
- Jamey Richard, OL
- Trevor Scott, DE
- Tracy White, LB
Here’s a complete list of NFL free agents, courtesy of NFL.com.
TELL US: With free agency underway, what players or positions would you like to see the New England Patriots target this off-season? Who from the list above would you re-sign and who would you let leave Foxborough? Let us know in the comments section below!