In what seems to have become a daily occurrence, the Patriots organization woke to discover another member of three championship teams had departed for more lucrative pastures. Wide receiver David Patten, an unrestricted free agent, has signed with the Washington Redskins. Michael Felger of The Boston Herald reports the deal is for five years in the range of $13 million dollars, with $3.5 million coming up front. While Patten was certainly a solid contributor during his tenure in New England, it is unlikely the Patriots had any interest in paying him the kind of money he is now getting from the Redskins.
As Tom Curranof The Providence Journal points out, Patten saw less and less action in the Pats offense as the season wore on. Having been a fairly productive wideout over the first half of the season, Patten's workload was reduced when Deion Branch returned from injury against the Chiefs in November. By the time New England reached the playoffs, Patten was nearly invisible on the depth chart behind Branch and David Givens. Patten caught one ball in each of the AFC playoff games, before being shut out in the Super Bowl. For more on Patten's departure, check out Jerome Solomonof The Boston Globe and Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call covers the Patriots trade for cornerback Duane Starks, a transaction that was finalized yesterday. Starks, a seven-year veteran, comes from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a third-round pick in April's draft. In addition, the two teams will swap fifth-round picks. As Parente notes, Starks could be the replacement for Ty Law, the recently departed Pro-Bowl cornerback. However, Starks has had a history of injuries lately, and could have trouble staying on the field.
The Globe's NFL Notebook details some key departures from the AFC-East rival New York Jets that could make the Patriots job a little easier next season. Dallas, new home of old friend Drew Bledsoe, was quick to sign Jets defensive lineman Jason Ferguson to a five-year deal reportedly worth more than $20 million dollars. Also yesterday, the Jets lost running back Lamont Jordan to the Oakland Raiders. Jordan ran well in limited action last season, and was considered the heir-apparent to aging rushing legend Curtis Martin.