FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced that they have re-signed unrestricted free agent tight end Fred Baxter today. In addition, the team also announced trades with two separate teams involving draft choices in the upcoming draft. In one trade, the Patriots sent fourth-year offensive tackle Greg Randall to the Houston Texans in exchange for a 2003 draft choice. In another trade, the Patriots traded a third and fifth-round selection in the 2003 draft to the Washington Redskins in exchange for a third-round selection in 2003 and a fourth-round selection in 2004. With the trade, the Patriots will move up six places in the third round of this year's draft, from 17th in the third round to 11th in the third round.
Baxter, 31, joined the Patriots on Dec. 24, 2002 and appeared in the team's season finale against the Dolphins. The 6-foot-3-inch, 260-pound veteran was originally drafted by the New York Jets in the fifth round of the 1993 NFL draft out of Auburn. After eight seasons with the Jets (1993-00), Baxter signed with the Chicago Bears in 2001. In 10 NFL seasons, Baxter has started 34 of 122 games in which he has played and has 100 career receptions for 1,008 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Randall, 24, was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2000 NFL draft out of Michigan State and started 22 of 35 games at right tackle in three seasons with the team. Last year, the 6-foot-5-inch, 322-pound offensive tackle started three of seven games at right tackle. He was listed among the team's inactives prior to nine other games.