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  • Wilfork inks with Pats

    By Len Pasquarelli
    ESPN.com

    Striking early to ensure the on-time arrival in training camp of a potential rookie starter, the New England Patriots on Monday reached a contract agreement with defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, the earlier of the team's two first-round draft choices.


    The 21st overall selection, Wilfork is just the second first-round player to reach contract terms, joining Houston Texans linebacker Jason Babin, the 27th player chosen. The former University of Miami star is the third of the Patriots' eight choices in the 2004 draft to strike an agreement.


    Still unsigned among New England's choices is fellow first-rounder Benjamin Watson, a tight end from the University of Georgia, and the final player taken in the opening stanza. Unlike most teams, which sign their later draft picks first, the Patriots have concentrated on the top of their bounty. With Wilfork and second-round defensive end Marquise Hill having agreements, the team now has deals with two of its top three picks.


    Wilfork, 22, will sign a six-year deal believed to be worth about $9 million-$9.5 million in "base" numbers, but which could eventually reach about $18 million if he cashes in on so-called "escalators" in the latter years of the contract. The signing bonus is $3 million but, counting a second-tier option bonus in 2005 and a roster bonus for this season, the bonuses total nearly $6 million.


    There are also guarantees on base salaries in some of the early years of the contract.


    A potentially dominating inside player, Wilfork is expected to compete with veteran Keith Traylor for the starting nose tackle spot in the New England 3-4 defensive front. There is little doubt the former Hurricanes star will log considerable playing time, even if he isn't the starter, as the Patriots like to rotate their linemen.


    Wilfork is another key as the Pats continue to infuse youth into their defensive line. New England has chosen defensive linemen in the first round in three of the last four drafts and now has one of the NFL's youngest, but also deepest units.


    Although he didn't become a full-time starter until 2003, Wilfork was a disruptive force at Miami, appearing in 36 games in three seasons, and starting 14 of them. He finished his career with 148 tackles, including 37 for losses, 14 sacks, 42 quarterback pressures, five forced fumbles and three recoveries.


    Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

  • #2
    Re: Wilfork inks with Pats

    Now that you have the Rams' #1 bracketed by two signees, I would think a deal should happen sooner than later. I'd like to believe that Stephen is ready to play ball and not business and the Rams' FO have a couple of contracts to shape the market and not drag things out unnecessarily. Get in camp, in shape, and in form. Let's get that train ready to roll now ...

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    • Nick
      Patriots and G Logan Mankins agree to contract terms
      by Nick
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      Monday, July 25, 2005
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      The Patriots became the first team to sign a first-round pick by reaching a five-year, $6.4 million deal with guard Logan Mankins, the 32nd pick in the 2005 draft.

      Mankins reached agreement late Sunday night and signed the contract. Including a signing and option bonuses along with a $350,000 roster bonus this year, Mankins received $4 million in upfront guarantees.

      The key to the agreement was getting the Patriots not to force a six-year contract on him. Last year, the Patriots signed tight end Daniel Graham, their first-round choice in 2004, to a six-year contract. His agent at the time, Tom Condon, refused to sign a contract that long for a pick that low in the first round and resigned as Graham's agent.

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    • Nick
      Watson opts to let agent go amid stalled talks on deal
      by Nick
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      By Michael Smith, Globe Staff | August 14, 2004

      FOXBOROUGH -- Asked if he was being interrupted when reached at his home in Rock Hill, S.C., late Thursday night, Benjamin Watson answered no. The Patriots' rookie tight end said he was just thinking. Apparently, his thoughts brought him to the conclusion that it was time for his holdout to end.

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    • Nick
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      by Nick
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      FOXBORO, Mass. -- Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour was not on the field for the opening practice of New England's training camp on Friday, starting what could be a lengthy holdout.

      Seymour's absence would further erode the core of the Patriots' defense. A day earlier, veteran linebacker Ted Johnson unexpectedly announced his retirement. And last week, Tedy Bruschi said he would sit out the entire 2005 season while he recovers from a mild stroke, leaving New England without either of its starting inside linebackers from last year's championship team.

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      FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (March 9, 2006) -- The New England Patriots released linebacker Willie McGinest in a salary-cap move, ending a 12-year relationship with the NFL's all-time postseason sack leader.

      The release of the two-time Pro Bowler was announced March 9, the day after the NFL owners voted 30-2 at their meeting in Grapevine, Texas, to extend the collective bargaining agreement with the players for six more years, resulting in a new salary cap figure of $102 million.

      The 34-year-old McGinest carried a salary cap figure of more than $7 million for next season. The veteran linebacker is now a free agent and can sign with any team, including New England.


      Willie McGinest has appeared in a team-record 18 playoff games with New England.
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      A two-time Pro Bowler, McGinest ranks third on the Patriots' all-time sack list with 78, just 1.5 behind Julius Adams. Andre Tippett tops the list with 100 sacks.

      McGinest has played in 171 games, ninth on the Patriots' all-time list.

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      The Patriots also announced the signing of defensive back Artrell Hawkins.

      Hawkins signed with the Patriots as a free agent on Nov. 15, 2005. The seven-year veteran, who moved from cornerback to safety, started four of the five games he appeared in and made 16 tackles.

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