NFL free agency got underway this week, and the Patriots made a number of moves to help bolster their roster for the 2023 season.
- On Monday, they traded Jonnu Smith to the Falcons and managed to send his whole salary along to Atlanta, helping to clear a significant amount of cap space.
- The same day, they re-signed corner Jonathan Jones.
- On Tuesday, Jakobi Meyers agreed to join the Raiders on a three-year deal. Meyers was the Patriots’ leading receiver the past three seasons.
- On Wednesday, they made a splash, signing receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to a deal nearly identical to the one Meyers got in Las Vegas. They also added running back James Robinson.
- On Friday, they signed tight end Mike Gesicki, who was with the Dolphins. Gesicki will help to fill the void left by Smith.
- Over the week, they also cut Brian Hoyer and Jalen Mills. And Joe Cardona became the highest-paid long snapper in the NFL with his new deal in New England.
See how the week unfolded below.
NFL free agency 2023
Dolphins sign Jake Bailey — 3:55 p.m.
Jake Bailey, whom the Patriots released last week, has a new home: Miami.
The Dolphins are reportedly adding the punter, who was let go less than a year after signing him to a four-year, $13.5 million contract extension.
What Mike Gesicki will do to the Patriots’ red-zone offense — 2:45 p.m.
By Jim McBride
The Patriots have put their opponents on red alert when it comes to Bill O’Brien’s red zone offense.
Danger could be lurking for defenders after New England’s latest acquisition, tight end Mike Gesicki (6 feet 6 inches). Gesicki gives the club a trio of tree toppers (6-5 tight end Hunter Henry and 6-3 receiver DeVante Parker are the others) that could give defenders fits in the most precious area of the football field.
The Patriots scored touchdowns on just 42.2 percent of their red zone trips in 2022, last in the NFL. They clicked at a 63 percent rate in 2021.
Joe Cardona contract details — 12:35 p.m.
Can confirm Patriots LS Joe Cardona signed a 4-year, $6.3M deal with $2.6m fully guaranteed over the first two years. Plus $100k each year in incentives. The Navy Reserve Lieutenant will be entering year 9 with the Patriots this fall— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 17, 2023
What the cornerback room looks like now — 12:10 p.m.
At cornerback, the Patriots have Jonathan Jones, Jack Jones, Marcus Jones, and Shaun Wade. Safety Myles Bryant, whom the Patriots tendered earlier this week, can also play cornerback. — Nicole Yang
Patriots cutting Jalen Mills — 11:45 a.m.
The Patriots are releasing Jalen Mills.
The defensive back signed with New England in 2021. He appeared in 10 games last season, grabbing two interceptions.
Jake Bailey working out with Dolphins — 10:15 a.m.
Patriots’ free-agent Pro-Bowl punter Jake Bailey is visiting today with the Miami Dolphins, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2023
Details on Jonnu Smith contract dump — 9:00 a.m.
Per NFLPA records, the Patriots were able to trade TE Jonnu Smith’s entire contract to the Falcons. He is due $11m this year with $6.25m fully guaranteed, and the Falcons assume all of it.— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 17, 2023
That’s a win for the Patriots, even if they only got a 7th round pick out of it
Patriots add tight end Mike Gesicki — 8:01 a.m.
The Patriots have agreed to terms with tight end Mike Gesicki, a league source confirmed to the Globe.
The deal is for one year and $9 million.
Gesicki immediately fills a need for the Patriots, who traded Jonnu Smith to Atlanta earlier this week. At 6-foot-6, he brings a little bit more size.
Eagles sign Marcus Mariota — 7:30 a.m.
The Eagles, who lost to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, now have a little insurance for Jalen Hurts in the form of Marcus Mariota.
The quarterback is headed to Philadelphia on a one-year deal, per ESPN.
Jason McCourty says Patriots are bringing back Joe Cardona — 6:47 p.m.
Former Patriots defensive back Jason McCourty is breaking news on social media -- he announced Thursday hat long snapper Joe Cardona is returning to New England.
Pats cut veteran QB Brian Hoyer — 5:16 p.m.
According to multiple reports, New England has cut Brian Hoyer. The 37-year-old, who was initially signed by the Patriots in 2009 as an undrafted free agent, has started for seven different teams over the course of his career.
Mack Wilson contract details — 3:00 p.m.
The Patriots locked up another internal free agent Thursday, agreeing to terms with linebacker Mack Wilson on a one-year contract, a league source confirmed.
Heading into his fifth season, Wilson can earn up to $2.2 million on the deal, according to NFL Media.
Braxton Berrios is signing with the Dolphins — 12:30 p.m.
Titans cut LB Bud Dupree — 12:00 p.m.
The Tennessee Titans released outside linebacker Bud Dupree two years into a five-year contract, parting ways with the big free agent they acquired in 2021 to boost their pass rush, the team announced Thursday.
Dupree signed a contract worth up to $82.5 million contract in March 2021 after spending his first six seasons with Pittsburgh. The Titans signed Dupree despite the 6-foot-4, 269-pound linebacker tearing an ACL in early December 2020.
He was waived Wednesday night. Dupree becomes the latest veteran cut by Tennessee’s new general manager Ran Carthon, joining three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan, wide receiver Robert Woods, center Ben Jones, kicker Randy Bullock and linebacker Zach Cunningham. — The Associated Press
Patriots reportedly re-sign Mack Wilson — 11:00 a.m.
NFL Network reports the Patriots are re-signing linebacker Mack Wilson to a one-year deal.
Wilson joined the Patriots last year from the Browns, when New England dealt away Chase Winovich.
Bill Belichick is a big JuJu guy — 10:00 a.m.
Ever since he first stormed onto the scene in Pittsburgh, Smith-Schuster has had a regular supporter in Bill Belichick.
The Patriots’ head coach has never been one to withhold praise for top talents across the NFL, such as when he compared potential New England target DeAndre Hopkins to Hall of Famer Cris Carter last season.
And after a rookie Smith-Schuster torched New England for 114 yards in a 27-24 Patriots win back in 2017, Belichick had plenty of high marks for the youngster ahead of their rematch the following season.
“Yeah, you’re not going to get anybody better than these two guys, plus the quarterback,” Belichick said of Smith-Schuster, Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger back in December 2018. “They’ve got a lot of other guys, too, but I mean, these two receivers are elite — elite, elite.” — Conor Ryan
Deal for Robinson means Pats could likely move on from Damien Harris — 9:00 a.m.
James Robinson will join Rhamondre Stevenson, Ty Montgomery, Pierre Strong, and Kevin Harris in the backfield. His signing likely means the Patriots will not re-sign Damien Harris, who finished out his rookie contract after getting drafted in the third round in 2019.
Bengals, OT Brown agree to massive deal — 10:26 p.m.
According to NFL Media, four-time Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is finalizing a four-year, $64.092 million front-loaded deal with the Bengals that includes a signing bonus of more than $31 million -- the largest ever for an offensive lineman.
Pats land RB James Robinson — 9:31 p.m.
Running back James Robinson and the Patriots have agreed to a two-year deal worth $8 million.
Robinson, 5-foot-9 and 219 pounds, had 110 carries for 425 yards (3.8 yards per carry average) and three touchdowns with Jaguars and Jets last season.
Cowboys moving on from Ezekiel Elliott — 4:30 p.m.
ESPN reports that the Cowboys will cut running back Ezekiel Elliott, but will designated it for after June 1.
It will help the team save more than $10 million in cap space.
Elliott could sign with any other team.
Commanders sign QB Jacoby Brissett — 4:05 p.m.
ESPN reports former Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett will sign with the Washington Commanders.
The deal is reportedly for one year and is worth up to $10 million ($8 million guaranteed).
Brissett was with the Browns last season, where he started during Deshaun Watson’s suspension.
“Cold world:” Meyers weighs in after JuJu got the deal — 3:45 p.m.
Former Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers, who agreed to a three-year, $33 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday, tweeted a reaction when he learned the Patriots had agreed to the same terms with former Chiefs and Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on Wednesday.
”Cold world lol,” Meyers wrote.
A look at the Patriots’ WR room — 3:20 p.m.
In New England, JuJu Smith-Schuster joins DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, and Tyquan Thornton. He can line up both in the slot and on the outside, with an average of 9.2 yards per target last season. — Nicole Yang
JuJu Smith-Schuster is coming off a bounce-back season — 3:15 p.m.
Smith-Schuster is a versatile veteran coming off a strong bounce-back season.
On a one-year prove-it deal with the Chiefs, Smith-Schuster caught 78 passes on 101 targets (77.2 percent catch rate) for 933 yards and 3 touchdowns during the regular season. He averaged 9.2 yards per target, lining up both in the slot and on the outside.
Smith-Schuster, who turns 27 in November, should have some gas left in the tank. But can he achieve that level of production in an environment without quarterback Patrick Mahomes and go-to guy Travis Kelce? — Nicole Yang
JuJu weighs in: “Excited for my next chapter in New England!” — 3:10 p.m.
Pats signing JuJu Smith-Schuster — 3:00 p.m.
The Patriots are adding a big-time wide receiver: JuJu Smith-Schuster.
ESPN reports the deal is for three years and is worth $33 million.
The signing is the big splash the Patriots have needed this offseason after letting Jakobi Meyers, the team’s leading receiver for the past three seasons, leave for the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency.
Aaron Rodgers says his intention is to play for the Jets — 1:22 p.m.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he intends on playing for the New York Jets in 2023. The four-time MVP told “The Pat McAfee Show” that it is a matter of the two teams working out the compensation.
Patriots reportedly signing another OT — 12:15 p.m.
The Patriots are bringing in another offensive tackle: 34-year-old Riley Reiff, according to ESPN.
Reiff, drafted in the first round in 2012, played 16 games for Chicago last season, starting the final 10. He has experience on both sides but has primarily played on the left.
Over the course of his 11-year career, Reiff has played for four teams (Detroit, Minnesota, Cincinnati, and Chicago). He earned a starting role in all stops.
Reiff joins offensive tackle Calvin Anderson as New England’s external free agent additions. The team also brought back Conor McDermott.
Baker Mayfield to the Bucs — 11:50 a.m.
Baker Mayfield, who spent the end of last season with the Los Angeles Rams, will sign with the Buccaneers on a one-year deal worth $8.5 million, according to ESPN.
Mayfield will take the reins from Tom Brady, who retired in February.
Mayfield was traded by the Browns, who drafted him in 2018, to the Panthers after Cleveland signed Deshaun Watson in the 2022 offseason. He played 7 games in Carolina before being released, and signing with the Rams. He appeared in 5 games in Los Angeles.
Analysis: Patriots aren’t showing enough urgency to fix their team — 10:30 a.m.
In the immortal words of judge Elihu Smails: “Well? We’re waiting.”
The theme of this Patriots’ offseason was supposed to be “urgency.” The Krafts told us in a Jan. 9 letter that “no one in our organization is satisfied with the results from this past season,” when the Patriots finished 8-9 and missed the playoffs for the second time in three years.
Specifically, no one is satisfied with the offense, which ranked 26th in yards and 32nd in the red zone. So they hired a real offensive coordinator in Bill O’Brien, and went into the offseason armed with the seventh-most salary-cap space.
But so far, through two days of free agency? Bupkis.
The Patriots haven’t made a single consequential addition on offense, unless you count swing tackle Calvin Anderson, signed Tuesday after starting seven games last year for the Broncos. (You shouldn’t.) — Ben Volin
McCourty helps Patriots spread out dead cap money — 9:20 a.m.
ESPN reports Devin McCourty is signing a dummy contract — simply to help the team offset some of the dead salary cap space he leaves upon retirement.
With today as the deadline, McCourty signs a dummy contract to help the Patriots spread out his $9.7m dead salary cap money over multiple years.— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 15, 2023
This is what players do when they are truly retired. Noticeably, Tom Brady did not do this with the Bucs. https://t.co/KA0BxKKdiI
Cadjuste joins Bryant on Pats’ RFA tender list — 9:15 a.m.
Can confirm the Patriots placed Restricted Free Agent tenders on CB Myles Bryant ($2.627m cash and salary cap) and OT Yodny Cajuste ($2.743m).— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 15, 2023
More depth at slot CB and RT.
Patriots re-sign safety Jabrill Peppers — 7:56 p.m.
New England re-signed another of its internal free agents Tuesday, with versatile safety Jabrill Peppers agreeing to a two-year contract, according to league source.
Coming off an ACL injury in 2021, Peppers played in all 17 games in 2022, his first season in New England. He made 60 tackles with a fumble recovery.
Aaron Rodgers will talk with Pat McAfee Wednesday — 5:47 p.m.
Aaron Rodgers is slated to sit down with Pat McAfee Wednesday afternoon, it was announced Tuesday.
Rodgers, who has made frequent appearances on McAfee’s show in the past, figures to shed some light on his future.
Colts deal Stephon Gilmore to Cowboys — 5:10 p.m.
Stephon Gilmore, who won Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 with the Patriots, is being dealt from the Colts to the Cowboys, according to ESPN.
Gilmore spent last season with Indianapolis after being traded to the Panthers by New England at the deadline in 2021.
Jets agree to four-year deal with WR Allen Lazard — 4:20 p.m.
The Jets will sign Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard to a four-year, $44 million deal with $22 million guaranteed, according to multiple reports.
Patriots agree to two-year deal with OT Calvin Anderson — 3:23 p.m.
The Patriots made their first external move, agreeing to terms on a two-year deal with offensive tackle Calvin Anderson, who originally signed with the team as an undrafted rookie in 2019.
Anderson, who played with the Broncos last season, confirmed the move in a tweet: “To Pats Nation, I remember signing with you after the draft. Everything comes full circle, and I can’t wait to give you everything I have and more. Not much for me to say, but a lot for me to do. Let’s work.”
Anderson had been spot starter at left tackle for the Broncos the last three seasons.
Giants trade for Raiders TE Darren Waller — 2:30 p.m.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Darren Waller is on the move.
The Raiders are sending the tight end to the New York Giants in a trade. The Giants will send a third-round draft pick (No. 100 overall) to the Raiders in return.
Aaron Rodgers has a wish list 👀 — 2:00 p.m.
Aaron Rodgers has provided the NY Jets with a wish-list of free agents he would like them to target and acquire, per sources.— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 14, 2023
It includes Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard, Marcedes Lewis and….Odell Beckham Jr.
Jakobi Meyers contract details — 1:40 p.m.
Jakobi Meyers’s deal with the Raiders is for three years and is worth $33 million, Ben Volin reports.
Of that money, $16 million is guaranteed.
Patriots tender DB Myles Bryant — 12:40 p.m.
The Patriots tendered restricted free agent Myles Bryant at the right-of-first-refusal level, which amounts to a one-year contract at $2.6 million, a league source confirmed to the Globe’s Jim McBride.
This means the cornerback/safety and special teamer can play on that deal or New England has the option to match any offer he might receive from another team.
An undrafted free agent in 2020, Bryant took over as New England’s slot corner in 2022 after Jonathan Jones shifted to the outside. He played in all 17 games with 70 tackles, 6 passes defended and an interception.
Raheem Mostert back with Dolphins on two-year deal — 11:08 a.m.
Running back Raheem Mostert will remain a Miami Dolphin. ESPN reports the two sides are coming together on a two-year deal.
WR Jakobi Meyers leaving Patriots to sign with Raiders — 9:59 a.m.
Jakobi Meyers, the leading receiver for the Patriots for the last three seasons, is signing with the Las Vegas Raiders. It is a three-year, $33 million deal that includes $21 million guaranteed.
Buccaneers trade former Patriot Shaq Mason to the Texans — 9:45 a.m.
The Buccaneers are trading guard Shaq Mason to the Houston Texans, according to multiple reports. Mason was drafted by the Patriots in 2015 in the fourth round and won two Super Bowls in seven seasons with New England before he was traded to Tampa Bay.
Jets looking to land Allen Lazard — 8:45 a.m.
ESPN reports the New York Jets are working on an agreement to sign free-agent receiver Allen Lazard, who would reunited with his former Packers coach Nathaniel Hackett — now the OC in New York.
White deal a precursor to Rodgers landing with Jets? — 10:08 p.m.
The Dolphins are signing former Jets quarterback Mike White to a two-year contract, according to a source familiar with the deal.
The person spoke to the Associated Press Monday on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced yet.
Miami on Friday picked up the fifth-year option on starter Tua Tagovailoa’s rookie contract, and the Dolphins are bringing in White as a backup. Teddy Bridgewater played behind Tagovailoa last season and started two games as Tagovailoa missed time with concussions.
The move would appear to open the door for the Jets signing Aaron Rodgers. Trey Wingo of Pro Football Network tweeted “Hearing Rodgers to Jets is done,’’ but nothing had been announced from either the Packers or the Jets.
Jets owner Woody Johnson and staff members flew to California last week to meet with Rodgers, which was confirmed by the Packers, who gave their blessing to the meeting.
White started four games for the Jets last season after New York demoted struggling starter Zach Wilson. White was 1-3 as a starter with 1,192 passing yards, three TDs and four interceptions in 2022. He missed two games late last season with fractured ribs after taking several hard hits in a Week 14 loss to Buffalo.
Dolphins add LB David Long — 6:55 p.m.
Miami and linebacker David Long have reportedly agreed to a two-year, $11 million deal. Long, a sixth-round pick of the Titans in 2019, had 86 tackles and two interceptions last season with Tennessee.
Pats reportedly lose out on OT Andre Dillard to Titans — 6:07 p.m.
According to ESPN, the Patriots were “competing” for free agent offensive tackle Andre Dillard, but he is expected to sign with the Titans. If the report is correct, it’s a sign that New England is in the market to bolster its tackle depth. Could we see them move on another OT before the start of the new league year?
Chase Winovich will sign with the Texans — 3:07 p.m.
The Texans are signing former Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich, according to multiple reports. Selected in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Winovich spent three seasons in New England before being traded to Cleveland.
Broncos bolster OL with Ben Powers, Mike McGlinchey — 2:47 p.m.
The Denver Broncos added right tackle Mike McGlinchey from San Francisco and guard Ben Powers from Baltimore, according to multiple reports.
Broncos pay $27 million fully guaranteed over two years for a guard (Ben Powers). Sean Payton is not messing around— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 13, 2023
Chiefs sign OT Jawaan Taylor — 2:12 p.m.
Kansas City will sign former Jacksonville offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, according to multiple reports. The deal is for four years, $80 million, The Athletic is reporting.
QB Mike White going to Miami — 1:59 p.m.
The Miami Dolphins will give former Jets quarterback Mike White a two-year deal worth up to $16 million, according to ESPN.
Jimmy Garoppolo headed to Raiders — 1:51 p.m.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is headed to the Raiders, where he’ll be reunited with head coach Josh McDaniels, according to multiple reports. Selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Patriots, Garoppolo spent 3½ seasons in New England with McDaniels as the offensive coordinator.
Take 2:— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 13, 2023
Jimmy Garoppolo’s 3-year, max value $77.25m deal with the Raiders is a flat $25.75m in each season.
2023 is fully guaranteed ($22.5m). Half of 2024 is fully guaranteed this week ($11.25m) and the other half becomes guaranteed on the 3rd day of the 24 season.
DT Javon Hargrave agrees to deal with 49ers — 1:33 p.m.
Former Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave has reached agreement on a four-year, $84 million deal that includes $40 million guaranteed at signing with the San Francisco 49ers, according to ESPN.
Contract details for Jonathan Jones, Raekwon McMillan — 1:18 p.m.
Jonathan Jones’s deal with the Patriots is for two years and is worth $20 million, with $13 million guaranteed.
Linebacker Raekwon McMillan’s deal, which the Globe reported Friday, is one year worth a maximum $2.2 million ($575,000 guaranteed).
QB Jarrett Stidham gets two-year deal with Broncos — 1:10 p.m.
Former Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham has agreed with the Broncos on a two-year deal worth $10 million. Stidham was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round in 2019 and spent three seasons in New England before he was traded to the Raiders.
Jarrett Stidham’s 2-year, $10m max deal with Denver has $4m fully guaranteed in 2023 and $1m fully guaranteed in 2024— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 13, 2023
CB Jonathan Jones to return to Patriots — 12:15 p.m.
The Patriots locked up their most important in-house free agent, securing a deal with cornerback Jonathan Jones, the Globe’s Jim McBride confirmed.
Jones, long one of the Patriots top defenders and core special teamers, has played all seven of his seasons in New England since signing as an undrafted free agent out of Auburn in 2016.
Source: Patriots CB Jonathan Jones got a 2-year, $20 million maximum deal with $13 million fully guaranteed.— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 13, 2023
Jones gets 2 years of roster security, and the Patriots get their best CB back at a decent rate.
He played mostly slot corner until last season when he made a seamless shift to boundary corner.
Falcons lock up BC product Chris Lindstrom with five-year deal — 12:10 p.m.
Chris Lindstrom, a 26-year-old offensive lineman from Massachusetts who starred at Boston College, will remain with the Falcons.
ESPN reports he is signing a five-year contract extension worth $105 million.
Where does Jonnu Smith rank among free-agent busts? — 12:00 p.m.
Probably safe to call Jonnu Smith the biggest free agent bust in Patriots history.— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 13, 2023
In 30 games over two seasons, Smith had 55 catches for 539 yards. He had more fumbles (2) than touchdowns (1). And they paid him $26.77 million
Who are the Patriots’ free agents? — 11:45 a.m.
They’ll be free, but they won’t come cheap.
New England has 16 “in-house” free agents — highlighted by Jakobi Meyers and Jonathan Jones — now that Devin McCourty has opted to retire.
Patriots trade tight end Jonnu Smith — 11:30 a.m.
The Patriots are moving on from tight end Jonnu Smith, sending him to the Falcons for a seventh-round pick in what is essentially a salary dump.
Smith was due to make $17.2 million this season — the second-highest cap hit on the Patriots’ roster — but had struggled to make an impact on the field, scoring just one touchdown in two seasons since signing with New England in 2021.
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