New England Patriots

New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: A New England Patriots helmet during the first half of the game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

We’re into day 2 of the official start to NFL free agency, and the Patriots have ramped up their activity. We’ll keep you posted with the latest news & rumors out of New England in our official free agency tracker below.

  • Patriots Signing LB Chris Board

    According to Tom Pelissero, the Patriots are signing free-agent linebacker Chris Board. This is a special teams move, as Board has been a core special team we throughout his career, most recently with the Lions in 2022.

    Clearly, Bill Belichick believes that the solution to the Patriots’ special teams woes has been the fault of the players rather than the coaches. To his point, guys like Jahlani Tavai and Jabrill Peppers have made back-breaking mistakes in special teams coverage in recent years. Putting Board in their place could make a real difference.

  • Patriots’ Mike Onwenu Gets Big Incentive Payday

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 19: Mike Onwenu #71 of the New England Patriots walks off the field after the preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on August 19, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Patriots defeated the Eagles 35-0. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

    PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 19: Mike Onwenu #71 of the New England Patriots walks off the field after the preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on August 19, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Patriots defeated the Eagles 35-0. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

    Huge check coming Mike Onwenu’s way: the Patriots’ starting right guard has earned a playing time incentive of $813,083, according to numbers released by NFL PR. Onwenu received the fourth-highest incentive-based bonus in the league.

    Onwenu was the best, most consistent Patriots offensive lineman in an otherwise down year for the unit in 2022. He’s entering the final year of his rookie contract, so he’s on track to get a much, much bigger payday on his next deal, especially if the Patriots decide not to extend him.

  • Patriots Releasing Jalen Mills

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 06: Jalen Mills #2 of the New England Patriots reacts in the second half of a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on November 06, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 06: Jalen Mills #2 of the New England Patriots reacts in the second half of a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on November 06, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

    The Patriots are moving on from another member of their 2021 free-agent class. According to Adam Schefter, they are releasing cornerback Jalen Mills. The move will clear about $5 million in cap space.

  • Patriots Interested In Another Safety

    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 16: Nick Scott #33 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates after an interception during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at SoFi Stadium on October 16, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 16: Nick Scott #33 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates after an interception during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at SoFi Stadium on October 16, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    Looks like the Patriots are really looking to add a free safety in his prime. According to Mark Daniels of MassLive, the Pats are showing interest in 27-year-old free-agent safety Nick Scott.

    Like other possible free-agent addition Taylor Rapp, Scott also played most recently with the Los Angeles Rams. Also like Rapp, Scott played the majority of his snaps as a free safety, but also lined up in the box and against slot receivers at times.

    Clearly, the Patriots are at least strongly considering a legitimate replacement for the retired Devin McCourty, as they look to get much younger and add someone with significant experience playing deep safety.

  • Patriots Made Joe Cardona Highest-Paid Long Snapper

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 06: Joe Cardona #49 of the New England Patriots looks on during the national anthem prior to playing the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on November 06, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 06: Joe Cardona #49 of the New England Patriots looks on during the national anthem prior to playing the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on November 06, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

    The Patriots are not just retaining long snapper Joe Cardona, they are making him the league’s highest paid player at the position. According to Tom Pelissero, Cardona is signing for a four-year deal worth up $6.3 million and up to $6.7M with incentives, plus a $1M signing bonus and $2.6M guaranteed at signing.

  • Patriots Still Talking To S Taylor Rapp

    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: Taylor Rapp #24 of the Los Angeles Rams takes the field prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on January 08, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – JANUARY 08: Taylor Rapp #24 of the Los Angeles Rams takes the field prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on January 08, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

    According to Jeremy Fowler, “talks are ongoing” between the Patriots and free-agent safety Taylor Rapp. It was reported Thursday that Rapp was also visiting the Cincinnati Bengals.

    This would ostensibly mean that the Patriots need to outbid the Bengals, who are coming off a berth in the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl over the past two seasons. If the money is the same, it could be an easy choice for Rapp as far as the better football situation. But maybe he reeeeally wants to play for Bill Belichick.

  • Patriots Signing TE Mike Gesicki

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - AUGUST 20: Mike Gesicki #88 of the Miami Dolphins heads upfield after making a catch during the second quarter of the preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – AUGUST 20: Mike Gesicki #88 of the Miami Dolphins heads upfield after making a catch during the second quarter of the preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

    The Pats have made an upgrade at the tight end position. Days after trading Jonnu Smith away, they are signing former Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki, as first reported by Adam Schefter.

    Click here to read more about the signing.

  • Patriots Bring In Old Friend For Visit

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 30: Trey Flowers #98 of the New England Patriots reacts during the third quarter of a game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 30: Trey Flowers #98 of the New England Patriots reacts during the third quarter of a game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Well this is interesting: in addition to four other external free agents who haven’t played in New England before, the Patriots hosted one of their former Super Bowl champion defensive ends, Trey Flowers. Mike Reiss and others reported on the visit.

    Flowers is still only 29 years old, but he’s played just 18 games over the past three seasons between the Lions and Dolphins. He most recently dealt with a foot injury that landed him on injured reserve, shelving him for the rest of the season after just four games in six weeks.

    There’s no doubting what Flowers was during his first stint in New England, which was an excellent all-around defensive end who played well in all situations and came up with huge plays in the playoffs during Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s late-dynasty surge. He’d be a welcome addition as a rotational edge defender who should be able to hit the ground running in a return to Belichick’s defense, provided he can stay healthy.

  • Patriots Hosting Former Vikings Receiver

    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 25: Bisi Johnson #81 of the Minnesota Vikings tries to get past Janoris Jenkins #20 of the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 25, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 25: Bisi Johnson #81 of the Minnesota Vikings tries to get past Janoris Jenkins #20 of the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 25, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

    According to Ian Rapoport, former Vikings wide receiver Bisi Johnson is headed to Foxboro for a free-agent meeting with the Patriots. Johnson played 16 games for Minnesota in 2022 (three starts), catching 14 passes for 189 yards.

  • Contract Details For Mack Wilson…

    According to Tom Pelissero, the Patriots are re-signing linebacker Mack Wilson for one year and up to $2.2 million. A completely low-risk depth signing for Bill Belichick. Wilson didn’t quite make the impact in the 2022 season that was expected after a strong training camp, so the hope is he can take a step forward in year 2 in the Patriots’ system and deliver some good value.

  • Mack Wilson Coming Back?

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 20: Mack Wilson Sr. #30 of the New England Patriots reacts after a sack against the New York Jets during the second half at Gillette Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 20: Mack Wilson Sr. #30 of the New England Patriots reacts after a sack against the New York Jets during the second half at Gillette Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    According to Cleveland-based reporter Brad Stainbrook, the Patriots are expected to re-sign linebacker Mack Wilson. The Browns and Texans were also contenders for Wilson’s services, but it sounds like he will be back for a second season in New England.

    Wilson played 137 snaps in coverage in 2022, according to Pro Football Focus. He had the fourth-most coverage snaps at linebacker, behind Ja’Whaun Bentley, Jahlani Tavai, and Raekwon McMillan. Wilson only had brief flashes of playmaking, but he provides a different skill set than that of Bentley and the others.

    The Patriots clearly value Wilson’s ability to play off the ball and are ostensibly hoping for a step forward in 2023. They’ve needed a player of this type for a few years now. We’ll see if they put all the trust in Wilson, or if they add more coverage LBs via free agency or the draft.

  • Patriots Hosting LB Andrew Van Ginkel For Visit

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 12: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots is pursued by Andrew Van Ginkel #43 of the Miami Dolphins during the game at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 12: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots is pursued by Andrew Van Ginkel #43 of the Miami Dolphins during the game at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    The Pats are hosting at least two free agents this week. In addition to bringing in former Rams safety Taylor Rapp, the Patriots are also hosting former Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, according to Doug Kyed.

    Van Ginkel was active for all 17 games in 2022 with Miami, and played 29 percent of defensive snaps. He was a core special teamer, with 306 ST snaps while playing on all units.

  • Patriots Hosting S Taylor Rapp For Visit

    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: Taylor Rapp #24 of the Los Angeles Rams takes the field prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on January 08, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – JANUARY 08: Taylor Rapp #24 of the Los Angeles Rams takes the field prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on January 08, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

    According to Field Yates, the Patriots are hosting free-agent safety Taylor Rapp for a visit.

    Rapp, 25, has started 33 of a possible 34 games over the past two seasons with the Rams, while playing at least 95 percent of defensive snaps in each year. He was primarily a free safety in L.A., but also played in the box and against slot receivers. He would have a chance to replace Devin McCourty as the Pats’ deep safety, if he signs.

  • Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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