The New England exodus continued yesterday, when it was announced starting guard Joe Andruzzi has signed a four-year deal with the Cleveland Browns. As Jerome Solomon of The Boston Globe reports, the Browns will pay Andruzzi $9 million dollars over the four-year deal. Andruzzi was a very dependable lineman for the Patriots, not missing a game during the three championship seasons.
Michael Felger of The Boston Herald has the Andruzzi story as well, and indicates the Patriots did not offer enough to keep the veteran guard. "Andruzzi said the Pats were not aggressive in their pursuit of him. He indicated their offer was in the range of what he earned last season, which was $1 million. That made the Browns' offer a 2-to-1 proposition," writes Felger. As Felger points out, not only will Andruzzi be reunited with former Pats defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, now Cleveland's head coach, but Jeff Davidson, who last year coached the Patriots tight ends, will be working with the offensive line in Cleveland. For more on Andruzzi, also check out Michael Parenteof The Woonsocket Call and Alan Greenbergof The Hartford Courant.
To counter the seemingly endless string of departing players, the Patriots made a move yesterday to acquire veteran cornerback Duane Starks from the Arizona Cardinals. As Felger reports in the Herald, New England will send a third-round pick in April's draft to the Cardinals. In addition, the teams will swap fifth-round draft picks. A former first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens, and a key member of their Super Bowl Champions squad, Starks has been maligned by injuries since signing a free agent contract with Arizona.
As Peter King of SportsIllustrated.com points out, the Starks signing represents a gamble on the Patriots behalf, considering Starks recent history of injuries. However, King likens the risk to the one the Patriots took a year ago on running back Corey Dillon, who stepped into the Patriots lineup and shattered the franchise's single-season rushing record.
With the recent release of Troy Brown and the possible departure of free agent David Patten, the Patriots may very well be looking for help at the wide receiver position. The Globe runs an Associated Press article by Barry Wilner recapping the many wide receivers who became unavailable over the last two days by signing free agent contracts.
Jarret Bell of USA Today discusses the cornerback position which, as it has often been of late, is a position receiving a great deal of free agency attention. In the wake of an NFL-record 732 touchdown passes league-wide last season, Bell says to expect cornerback salaries to reach incredible levels. Among the free agent corners expected to cash in is #24, former Patriot Ty Law.
Finally, Scott Van Voorhis of the Herald reports Patriots team owner Robert Kraft is interested in purchasing the Liverpool soccer team of the English Premier League.