The new league year starts Wednesday, but things are already underway with the “legal tampering period” which should make for a bunch of deals getting into place ahead of time. For the Patriots, the new is starting to finally trickle in with restricted free agent signings.
— James Develin announced that he’s returning to the Pats on a new one-year deal. This likely saved the Pats some money by not having to tender Develin. Now, coming off a broken leg, Develin has a chance to prove he’s back to form and can help re-establish a Patriots ground game that was murdered by attrition in 2014.
Let’s Go!!! pic.twitter.com/snR2s2H2YU
— James Develin (@James_Develin) March 7, 2016
One last note on James Develin: Once Bill Belichick called him and told him how much he wanted him back, it was a done deal at that point.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 7, 2016
— Justin Coleman, coming off an impressive rookie season in the slot, Josh Boyce and tackle Cameron Fleming have been tendered as well. Wasn’t sure if Boyce would be back, but Coleman and Fleming were locks and help round out the depth. Brandon King is also in discussions to return, likely under a tender offer. Rufus Johnson, LaAdrian Waddle and Kevin Hughes are the only RFA/ERFA’s left that we haven’t gotten word about.
The Pats will tender exclusive rights free agent Brandon King if they don’t reach a multiyear extension, per source. Extension is unlikely.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 7, 2016
— Logan Mankins announced his retirement which once again shows the Pats are usually right on with their “one year early rather than a year late” personnel philosophy. Mankins is one of those all-time Patriots players who somehow managed to have his career span the exact time frame Belichick and Brady went Super Bowl-less, 2005-2013. It’s too bad Mankins never got a ring in New England, but he’s still one of the best maulers of all time. Playing on a torn ACL in 2011’s Super Bowl might just embody everything Mankins stood for in New England.
— The Pats also picked up Rob Gronkowski‘s $10 million option ensuring Gronk stays with the team through 2019, though another extension seems certainly likable at some point in the next couple years, depending on how healthy Gronk stays. He’s missed just two games the last two seasons, if he keeps up that pace he’ll own pretty much every tight end record in the books.
— Eric Weddle thinks he’d be a good fit with the Pats and as much as I love the player it’s hard to see how he’d fit in New England with Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon, with Jordan Richards also in the mix. Yes of course Weddle and McCourty would be probably the best safety combo in the league, but they’re not paying Chung to sit on the bench at this point, so I really don’t see it happening.