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Patriots Extend Special Teams Captain Matthew Slater For 2-Years

Insert Caption Text Here. (USA TODAY Images)

Matthew Slater has been an intricate player on special teams for the Patriots in recent years and it appears they’d like to make sure he stays here.

According to ESPN Boston’s Field Yates, the Patriots have agreed to terms with the special teams captain on a 2-year deal that will keep him here in New England through 2016.

The deal is reportedly worth $4-million and includes $3 million in guaranteed money, including $2 million up front in the form of a signing bonus along with his 2015 base salary of $1 million. Yates also reports that Slater will receive a base salary of $1 million for 2016, and incentives each season of $100,000.

Slater has been such a terrific and solid player on special teams for New England, and Bill Belichick praised him during his press conference on Wednesday.

“Matt does a lot of things for us,” said Belichick. “Obviously he’s a very good player on the field, professional, works hard, does a great job with all the players, younger players,¬†but also his peers. He’s very well-respected in the locker room, not just by the players but by the entire organization by the way he goes about his job, how dependable he is, his work ethic, his attitude, his toughness. He’s really such a model player. I’d love to have 53 guys like him.”

Fortunately for now he’ll have him for at least two more seasons.

Patriots Reportedly Expected to Re-Sign RB LeGarrette Blount

LeGarrette Blount is reportedly set to rejoin his former team.. (USA TODAY Images)

During the offseason LeGarrette Blount opted to take his talents to Pittsburgh after signing a 2-year deal with the Steelers back in March, but now it appears that he’s on the verge of returning to New England.

According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Blount, who was released by Pittsburgh this week, is reportedly in Foxboro and is expected to re-sign with the Patriots today.

Blount’s time with the Steelers likely didn’t go quite as he hoped after his playing time diminished behind Le’Veon Bell, who has emerged as Pittsburgh’s primary running back. ¬†That lead to him leaving early during his now-former team’s win over the Titans Monday night, which upset many of the players in the locker room.

The addition of Blount will add some veteran depth to a group that is still trying to establish some stability in the back field.  The emergence of Jonas Gray has been a bright spot for the team since losing Stevan Ridley, and adding Blount will now give them an additional weapon as well as some flexibility in the backfield, with Gray, Shane Vereen, and now Blount in the mix.

REPORT: Patriots Revis Sent Home Tuesday after Arriving Late

Darrelle Revis has been a key part of the Patriots defense so far in 2014. (USA TODAY Images)

Bill Belichick is about as consistent as it comes when it relates to his approach to the game and the rules he governs his players by, which, according to the Boston Globe, ended up being bad news for one of their star players this week.

Ben Volin of the Globe reported on Wednesday that Darrelle Revis was sent home on Tuesday after showing up late to the facility for a 7:30 a.m. meeting at the stadium following the team giving the players Saturday through Monday off after their victory over the Jets Thursday night.

According to Volin, Revis overslept, with a source telling him that the veteran cornerback “has accepted responsibility for his actions and understands that the team‚Äôs rules apply to all players.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened, as Belichick has previously sent¬†players home for¬†being late. Fans may remember what happened in 2009 when he sent four players home after they arrived late to the facility during a December snowstorm, with¬†Adalius Thomas, Derrick Burgess, Randy Moss, and Gary Guyton being sent home that day.

At the time that seemed to spell the beginning of the end for Thomas, who was quite miffed after the incidient.  When asked whether he thought Belichick was trying to motivate the players by sending them home, he was quite vocal to ESPN Boston about it.

“Motivation is for kindergartners. I’m not a kindergartner,” Thomas said. “Sending somebody home, that’s like, ‘He’s expelled, come back and make good grades.’ Get that [expletive] out of here. That’s ridiculous. Motivation?”

For those concerned about any potential rift between Revis and Belichick stemming from this, this appears to be an isolated issue. ¬†Volin cites a source who said that Revis actually returned to the team’s facility in the afternoon on his own to apologize to Belichick.

On Wednesday, Revis¬†told the media his absence on Tuesday was, “Between me and coach [Bill Belichick]. Talk to him about it.”

Case closed. ¬†They’re on to Chicago.

Patriots Make a Low-Risk Trade, Acquire Titans LB Akeem Ayers

New England added LB Akeem Ayers Tuesday. (USA TODAY Images)

The Patriots made a move to try and add some depth to the linebacker position on Tuesday, acquiring Tennessee Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers via a trade, with the deal reportedly pending a physical.

The move helps New England as they continue to try and deal with the loss of Jerod Mayo, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 6. ¬†They’ve also seen Dont’a Hightower banged up and now will also have to make changes to compensate for the loss of Chandler Jones, who will seemingly miss the next month with a hip injury.

Ayers reportedly had offseason knee surgery on both knees to repair his patellar tendons.  With the deal being contingent on a physical, should he pass, that should tell most fans all they need to know about his health if the coaches and front office are comfortable enough with him to complete the deal.

The deal¬†will cost the Patriots¬†a sixth-round draft choice in next year’s draft in exchange for Ayers and a Titans’ seventh-rounder, per¬†Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky.

The former Titan was a second-round pick in 2011 and is in the final year of his contract.

Chandler Jones will reportedly miss a month with a hip injury. (USA TODAY Images)

Last season saw the Patriots lose quite a few high profile players to injury, making a complete mess of things on both sides of the football as they battled to stay in the playoff hunt before eventually getting knocked out of the AFC Championship Game in Denver.

At the time it seemed like a really bad anomaly that would hopefully never happen again.  Losing the likes of Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Tommy Kelly set their defense back badly over the course of the remainder of the season as they worked each week to compensate for each player that went down.

Heading into the 2014 season most hoped they wouldn’t ever have to deal with those types of losses this time around.

Unfortunately, their luck is beginning to take a turn for the worse.

Despite the celebration that took place following Chris Jones’ block of Jets kicker Nick Folk’s field goal, there was one player who wasn’t jumping for joy after New England blocked the Jets’ game-winning field goal attempt. ¬†Defensive end¬†Chandler Jones reportedly suffered a hip injury somewhere around the end of the game and was spotted walking off the field fairly gingerly instead of celebrating with his teammates.

According to the Boston Globe,¬†Whatever happened will now reportedly keep him ‘about a month’, which now has New England trying to come up with a contingency plan to deal with his absence. ¬†The newspaper reports that the team will sign free agent defensive end Alan Branch in an effort to add depth on the defensive line.

This marks the second straight week New England has lost a significant player on defense, having lost Mayo for the second time in as many seasons to a season-ending injury in Week 6.  Losing Jones removes a high-energy personality and a player who has been a difference-maker this season, making key plays in some key moments, including his blocked field goal and subsequent return for a touchdown against the Vikings in Week 2.

Overall he has 4.5 sacks as well as a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

The signing of Branch seems to have a lot of upside if he’s ready to turn things around. ¬†He’s coming off of a DUI arrest that lead to his release from the Bills¬†this summer back on August 24th, 2014.

Fortunately Jones will seemingly be back at some point this season. ¬†But his loss, along with Mayo and running back Stevan Ridley, has been a strong reminder of just how quickly things can change. ¬†Hopefully this will be the last hit they’ll have to suffer for a while because this is a group that struggled enough as it was against New York. ¬†

It’s another tough blow to a team that has already battled with enough setbacks after a rough start. One would have to think losing Jones isn’t going to help make things any easier for Bill Belichick to fix their problems as they continue preparing for the Bears this week.

Four Patriots Players Among Active Leaders For Games Played

In a league where staying healthy and being out there every Sunday is so important, it’s tough enough for players to consistently be out there given the physical nature of the sport they’re a part of.

Rob Ninkovich leads the NFL in his category for players with the most consecutive regular season starts.
(USA TODAY Images)

Looking at the current active players who are among the league leaders in consecutive regular season games played, there are only four names who made the list from the Patriots when looking at the top five in each category.

Tom Brady, Rob Ninkovich, James Develin and Kyle Arrington are the few who have managed to remain healthy enough to make it, with Ninkovich being the only player who is near the top at his position in that category. ¬†The veteran, who is classified as a defensive end, has played in 77 consecutive regular season games, trailing only Oakland’s Jon Condo, who has played in 117 consecutive contests. ¬†Below him are Chicago’s Lamarr Houston (70), Jacksonville’s Tyson Alualu (70), Minnesota’s Everson Griffen (65), and Houston’s J.J. Watt (54)

Arrington has played in 76 straight regular season games, trailing Dallas’ Brandon Carr (102), Carolina’s Antoine Cason (102), Buffalo’s Corey Graham (115) and Pittsburgh’s William Gay (118).

Also making this list for fullbacks is James Develin, who has played in 23 straight regular season games, tied with Detroit’s Jed Collins for third in this category for their position. ¬†They trail Oakland’s Jamize Olawale (24) and Oakland’s Marcel Reece (46).

Following his knee injury back in 2008, Brady has since played in 87 straight regular season games, trailing Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (102), San Diego’s Philip Rivers (135) and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (157).

Brady and Ninkovich are also the only two players in the top five in their categories for consecutive regular season starts among active players, with Ninkovich leading all defensive ends with 56 consecutive starts, ahead of Watt, who has 54.

REPORT: Patriots QB Mallett Traded to Texans

Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett is headed to Houston. (USA TODAY Images)

After an offseason of talk and a preseason that also had its’ fair share of whispers, it appears that Ryan Mallett may finally be leaving town after all.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Mallett has been traded to the Houston Texans, although no terms of the trade of have been released just yet.

The move reunites Mallett with former Patriots offensive coordinator and new Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. ¬†O’Brien also held the role of quarterbacks coach here in New England during Mallett’s rookie season back in 2011.

Mallett had an up and down preseason and didn’t exactly impress while he was out there, but most felt that he would remain with the Patriots during the final year of his contract, which expired after the 2014 season. ¬†Following Saturday’s cuts, it seemed that he would be backing up Tom Brady for at least another season. ¬†Now it seems he’ll have an opportunity to start in Houston.

UPDATE: According to several reports, New England will receive a conditional seventh round pick for Mallett based on the percentage of snaps he plays for the Texans this season, which could potentially turn the pick into a sixth round selection.

Patriots Boyce Among Final Cuts On Saturday

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce was among those cut during Saturday’s move to get down to the 53-man roster limit. (USA TODAY Images)

Once thought of as a potential big play receiver in New England’s offense, it appears that receiver Josh Boyce will be one of many trying to land a job with an NFL team after Saturday’s cut down as the Patriots pared their roster down from 75 to the 53-man limit.

According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, Boyce was notified that he would be among the players waived this afternoon. ¬†The speedy receiver out of Texas Christian was taken in the fourth round last year but wasn’t able to take the next step after having had an up and down training camp. ¬†

Boyce had a strong offseason and started off well, receiving a lot of praise early on in camp. ¬†However, he was inconsistent, looking fantastic one day and then not so great at other times. ¬†Apparently the coaching staff didn’t feel confident in his growth, and as a result it appears they’ve¬†made alternative decisions at the bottom of a group that many had felt had both Boyce and potentially Kenbrell Thompkins battling for a roster spot.

Thompkins seems to have survived, while Boyce didn’t. ¬†Although it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Boyce to potentially return on the team’s practice squad should he clear waivers.

Meanwhile, other players said to be among those having received bad news are the following:

WR Josh Boyce
DT Jerel Worthy
DT Eathyn Manumaleuna
DT L.T. Tuipulotu
DE Jake Bequette
TE Steve Maneri
C Braxton Cave
G Jon Halapio
T Chris Martin
LB Steve Beauharnais
LB James Morris*
(*apparent right knee injury suffered Friday night, placed on IR per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald)
LB Ja’Gared Davis
RB Roy Finch
RB Jonas Gray
CB Daxton Swanson
S Kanorris Davis
S Shamiel Gary
WR Jeremy Gallon
RB Taylor McCuller
LS Danny Aiken

One quick note for those wondering. So far it appears the Patriots will stay with three quarterbacks, with Ryan Mallett still on the team to this point.  According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, had the Patriots cut Mallett, the Texans would have claimed him.

Also, Howe points out that Brandon Browner and Brian Tyms are now on the suspended list.

As history has shown, the final cuts don’t necessarily guarantee any security for some of the remaining guys who are left, as the situation tends to remain fluid while the dust settles and New England begins evaluating other players released. As a result, don’t be surprised if there are some additional moves through the remainder of the weekend as the team finishes putting their roster together heading into their week one match-up in Miami next Sunday.

REPORT: Patriots Sending Mankins to Buccaneers for TE Wright

Logan Mankins is now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
(USA TODAY Images)

New England hasn’t been a stranger so far with pulling off trades to deepen their roster, but they pulled off a shocking one on Tuesday considering who was involved.

According to Jay Galzer of, the Patriots have traded offensive guard Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay in exchange for tight end Tim Wright and an undisclosed draft pick.

It’s been a well-known fact that New England didn’t have much depth behind tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui, so the addition of Wright, who caught 54 passes for 561 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2013, certainly gives them some much needed depth at that position.

The loss of Mankins takes away some attitude and toughness up front on the offensive line, but the amount of depth they have there apparently left them with a tough decision when it came to bolstering another position instead.  As a result, the agreement was made and it gives the Buccaneers some help up front as well.

Mankins was entering his 10th season in the league after having been drafted in the first round by New England back in 2005.

Patriots CB Arrington Getting Reps at Safety

Kyle Arrington has spent this week expanding his role in New England’s defense. (USA TODAY Images)

One of the sure ways to solidify a role with the Patriots is to be a player who isn’t afraid to fill multiple needs and it appears Kyle Arrington is getting the opportunity to increase his value to New England’s defense.

Arrington has been a player who has played both inside and outside in New England’s secondary since becoming a starter and has improved quite a bit in the past couple of seasons. ¬†Now it appears he’s getting some work in at safety after spending some time there this week.

Bill Belichick had some praise for Arrington this week and feels he can play anywhere.

‚ÄúI think Kyle has a really good skill set to play anywhere [in the secondary],‚ÄĚ Belichick said via the Boston Globe. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs fast, he‚Äôs tough, he‚Äôs a good tackler, which your safeties need to be, but I‚Äôd say it‚Äôs even more important at safety. He tackles well, he runs, he‚Äôs a very athletic player.‚ÄĚ

The veteran defensive back, who is one year into a four-year deal, is in a secondary that is pretty crowded at the cornerback position and that situation only appears to be potentially getting more complicated following last week’s performance by Malcolm Butler, who played well during the Patriots first preseason game. ¬†Butler finished the night with two passes defensed along with six tackles and overall has looked pretty solid to this point during training camp.

With Arrington getting reps at safety, it gives New England some added depth in the event of injuries to Devin McCourty or Duron Harmon and it will also be interesting to see how things shake out when the team makes their final roster decisions in terms of who they keep and whether or not Arrington can fill the role of two players.

For now he’s garnered enough respect from his coach and teammates for his ability to step in when called upon, with Devin McCourty noting that Arrington’s experience being moved around has made him a smart player.

‚ÄúI think he‚Äôs smart,‚ÄĚ McCourty said via the Boston Herald. ‚ÄúI think he understands the defense on the whole. The way he plays, he can fit in at safety. He can fit in at corner. He‚Äôs an aggressive guy. He always plays physical.

‚ÄúI think him being able to play inside and outside has given him more understanding of the defense, so it allows him to do more things now that coach asks him to do.‚ÄĚ

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