FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots have signed DE Marcus Benard, RB James Develin, WR Jeremy Ebert, WR Andre Holmes, QB Mike Kafka, DL Tracy Robertson and LB Jeff Tarpinian to future contracts today. Develin, Ebert, Holmes, Robertson and Tarpinian ended the season on the New England practice squad.
Benard, 27, is a veteran of three NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns. The 6-foot-2, 256-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Cleveland out of Jackson State. He has played in 25 NFL games with two starts and has registered 39 total tackles, 11.5 sacks and two passes defensed. Benard began last season on the reserve/non-football injury list and was then released by Cleveland on Oct. 10.
Develin, 24, joined the New England practice squad on Sept. 1, 2012, and was signed to the 53-man roster on Nov. 28. He played in his first NFL game vs. San Francisco on Dec. 16. The 6-foot-3, 251-pounder, from Brown University, spent most of the 2010 and all of the 2011 season on the Cincinnati practice squad. He originally entered the NFL in 2010 when he was signed to the Cincinnati practice squad on Nov. 30, 2010 after playing for the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League. Develin played four seasons as a defensive lineman at Brown.
Ebert, 23, joined the New England practice squad on Nov. 28, 2012. He was originally selected by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft with the 235th selection overall out of Northwestern. The six-foot, 195-pounder, was released by the Patriots on Aug. 31, 2012, and spent one week on the Philadelphia practice squad in early September.
Holmes, 24, was signed to the New England practice squad on Jan. 8, 2013. He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Minnesota out of Hillsdale in 2011. The 6-foot-4, 223-pounder was released by Minnesota after training camp and was signed to the Dallas practice squad. Holmes was signed to the Dallas 53-man roster late in the 2011 season but was inactive for the final four games of the season. He made the Dallas 53-man roster out of training camp in 2012 and played seven games, registering two receptions for 11 yards. Holmes was released by Dallas on Nov. 25 and signed back to the practice squad on Nov. 27.
Kafka, 25, was originally a fourth-round draft pick (122nd overall) by Philadelphia out of Northwestern in the 2011 NFL Draft. He played in four games as a rookie, completing 11 of 16 passes for 107 yards. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, was released by Philadelphia on Aug. 31, 2012 and spent the season out of football.
Robertson, 23, was signed to the New England practice squad on Jan. 1, 2013. He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Houston out of Baylor in 2012. The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder was released by the Texans on July 29 and signed with the Detroit Lions on Aug. 1. He was released by the Lions at the end of training camp on Aug. 31 and has not appeared in an NFL game.
Tarpinian, 25, was released by the Patriots on Aug. 31, 2012 and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 1, 2012. He was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Oct. 20 and played in three games, mainly on special teams. He was released by New England on Nov. 12 and signed to the practice squad on Nov. 13. Tarpinian made New England's 53-man roster last season after joining the team as a rookie free agent out of Iowa. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder played in seven games with one start in 2011 and finished with four defensive tackles and eight special teams tackles. He was placed on injured reserve with a head injury on Nov. 24, 2011.