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News Blitz 6/5: Anderson gives Patriots LBs a much-needed boost

Posted Jun 5, 2014

This edition of the Patriots.com news blitz focuses on the addition of James Anderson and takes a look at some other news from around the NFL.

As we mentioned yesterday, the tight end position appears to be a position of weakness right now for the Patriots -- behind Gronkowski, the team doesn't have much depth. Many people still expect the Patriots to sign another tight end before training camp begins, but what if they don't? Jed Ober from Fansided takes an in-depth look at the two rookie tight ends on the Patriots roster.

"What the Patriots need to do is find a tight end that can contribute to the offense in that player’s own way," says Ober. "Whether that player comes through free agency or whether one of these young rookies can emerge remains to be seen."

Though the Patriots have yet to make a move at tight end, the team did add depth to another position of need. New England signed veteran linebacker James Anderson yesterday and Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston believes he could give the team a much-needed boost. With the addition of Anderson, Reiss took a closer look at the Patriots linebacker corps and he believes that each player has the versatility to be used at a variety of linebacker positions. He projects Dont'a Hightower (MLB), Jerod Mayo (WLB), and Jamie Collins (SLB) as the team's starters while Anderson will most likely back up Mayo at weak side linebacker.

"Without knowing the specifics of the contract, the signing seems like a smart one for the Patriots as Anderson fills out one of the few areas on the roster that required a depth charge," writes Reiss.

Former Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams says that he would gladly play for the Patriots. In an interview with USA Today's Tom Pelissero Williams said, "Tell them to look me up!" (referring to the Patriots). The 33-year-old vet visited the Seahawks and Giants this offseason but has yet to find a suiter willing to sign him for the 2014 season.

The biggest NFL news yesterday, however, involved Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers quarterback signed a 6-year extension worth up to $126-million with $60-million guaranteed. So how does all this relate to the Patriots? Well Ron Borges says that it means Tom Brady is in for a huge pay day. Borges' article in the Boston Herald outlines Brady's contract and explains why he expects TB12 to renegotiate his salary before his current contract is up -- remember, the NFL salary cap is expected to rise dramatically in 2015 and 2016.

"Tom Brady has played nearly as many playoff games (26) as Kaepernick has starts (29) and has won nearly as many playoff games (18) as Kaepernick has career victories (21). Yet Kaepernick will now be paid in 2015 more than double the $7 million salary Brady is presently due that season," says Borges.

Today we will get our second look at the 2014 Patriots at their organized team activities. Thursday's session is the only practice this week that's open to the media and CSN's Phill Perry has a list of things he's looking out for. Perry will be focusing on Jimmy Garoppolo throughout the day and will also keep an eye out for the players who were missing from last week's OTAs. Additionally, Perry is hoping to see progress from Vince Wilfork, Rob Gronkowski, Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Armond Armstead, and Will Smith. All six players were limited last week, so it'll be interested to see if any of them get upgraded to full participation.