Thursday Daily Patriots Rundown 3/31: Are the Patriots About to Add Another Big Free Agent?
Hard to believe the week is almost over and as we get set to start this Thursday, here’s this morning’s rundown:
Patriots Host Three Players – The Patriots hosted two players on Wednesday as they continue trying to build depth heading into training camp, bringing in both a wide receiver and tight end for workouts.
According to WEEI.com the Patriots worked out both receiver Mike Williams and tight end Jeff Cumberland, both of which have spent time with AFC East rivals during their career.
Williams is a former 2010 fourth-round pick and hasn’t played in the NFL since 2014, which ended badly after the receiver was traded from his original team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to the Bills in April of that year. After that season started, Williams apparently became unhappy with his role and asked the Bills for a trade in October, and his relationship with then-head coach Doug Marrone deteriorated from there. He eventually was waived and ended up on injured reserve.
Williams was suspended for the first three weeks of 2015 but never played last year.
He was once a pretty good player, finishing second in the voting for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in his rookie season. Bill Belichick enjoys reclamation projects and at 6’2″, 212-pounds, Williams would bring size and athleticism to the position. Considering the fact this might be the end of the line for Williams given his history, it would be interesting to see how Belichick handles him.
As for Cumberland, he’s a former undrafted free agent who became a starter in his third season and has spent the last six seasons with the Jets. He appeared in 15 games last season, finishing with five receptions for 77 yards, including one of 20+ yards and another of 40+.
He originally signed a 3-year extension with New York back in 2014 but became a salary-cap casualty back on March 9, 2016.
And finally, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported that the team worked out quarterback Ricky Stanzi on Wednesday. Stanzi is a career back-up having spent his time with the Chiefs, Jaguars, Texans, Giants and Lions.
He was originally selected in the 5th round out of Iowa by the Chiefs back in 2011 and has yet to play a regular season snap in the NFL.
Patriots Sign TE Harbor – According to ESPN, the Patriots added free agent tight end Clay Harbor on Wednesday.
The addition of Harbor rounds out a group that is already in pretty good shape after the acquisition of Martellus Bennett, whom the Patriots picked up in a trade with Chicago earlier this month. Harbor has spent the last three seasons in Jacksonville and finished with his lowest reception total since 2011 despite appearing in 15 games last season. He caught 14 passes for 149 yards as well as a touchdown in 2015.
After the signing of Harbor, New England now has Rob Gronkowski, Bennett, Michael Williams, and A.J. Derby heading into training camp. Since they did also work out Cumberland, that likely means they may not be done adding depth at that position just yet.
FSU’s Bryan Stork has been a key addition to the Patriots offensive line.
Strong Connection Between the Patriots and FSU – There’s clearly an affinity with the Florida State Seminoles, especially on the offensive line after the team added two fourth round picks over the last two seasons.
The Patriots selected center Bryan Stork in 2014 and guard Tre’ Jackson in 2015 and the relationship between New England and the University is obviously a good one.
To take it a step further, ESPN’s Mike Reiss noted that Seminoles offensive line coach Rick Trickett was seen sporting a Patriots T-Shirt during the school’s pro day on Wednesday.
FSU is currently coming off of a season where they finished 10-3 and don’t really have any offensive lineman to watch this year. Their two best prospects are in the secondary, with both CB Jalen Ramsey and FS Nate Andrews among a draft class who are expected to do big things in the NFL.
The school has had a lot of success in recent years, with FSU averaging 10 selections over the last three years after totaling 29 total picks, which set a new NFL record.
Knighton Soon to be a Patriot? – After visiting the Patriots, it sounds like Washington free agent Terrance Knighton, whose nickname is “Pot Roast”, may be leaning toward finding out what it’s like to play in Foxboro.
According to the Washington Times, Knighton is leaning toward accepting the offer presented to him by the Patriots. At 6’3″, 354-pounds, his addition could potentially give the Patriots a big presence inside that may improve a run-defense that was already pretty good down the stretch in 2015.
He had a rough 2015 season in Washington, reportedly dealing with “severe cluster headaches”, which were apparently something he dealt with for most of the second half of the season.
If Knighton signs, the decision to come to New England is an interesting one, since his teammate, Chris Baker, told 106.7 The Fan’s Chris Russell earlier on Wednesday that Knighton would be remaining in Washington.
“It would mean the world, to me and to him, to be able to chase the Lombardi dream again together,” Baker told Russell. “It’s been a childhood dream for us. To actually live it out this past year, I had my best season of my career with him so I don’t see why we should get rid of him.”
Unfortunately, that may be out of his control and if Knighton signs with the Patriots, he’ll definitely be much closer to reaching his dream than he ever might have been in Washington.
Posted Under: Daily Patriots Rundown