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Report: Klecko, Samuel reach deals

According to ESPN.com the Patriots have reached deals with the team's two fourth-round draft picks, defensive tackle Dan Klecko and corner Asante Samuel. While the team could not confirm the deals Thursday afternoon, Samuel's agent Alonzo Shavers did confirm that his client had finalized a deal today.

The 5-11, 283-pound Klecko was New England's first of two fourth-round selections this past April, number 117 overall. The 2002 Big East defensive player of the year at Temple recorded 68 tackles and 10 sacks during his senior campaign. The slightly undersized son of former Jets great Joe Klecko is expected to be in the competition for playing time at the nose position when training camp begins on July 23. Klecko signed a four-year deal worth $1,690,000, including a signing bonus of $320,000 and minimum salaries throughout the deal starting at $225,000 this season.

Samuel, a 5-10, 185-pound, corner out of Central Florida was the Patriots second fourth-round pick, number 120 overall. The former Golden Knight left the school as the team's all-time leader in pass break-ups following a senior season in which he tallied 48 tackles, four interceptions and 15 passes defensed. Samuel returned 63 punts and 10 kickoffs in his collegiate career and could provide a return option for Brad Seely's special teams units. Samuel's deal is very similar to Klecko's, a four-year pact totaling $1,682,500 with a $312,500 signing bonus. His deal also includes minimum salaries throughout, although both contracts have escalator clauses in the final season based on playing time levels.

With the signing of seventh-round pick Ethan Kelley earlier this week the Patriots have now signed three of their 10 2003 draft picks. The team now has 84 players under contract with the remaining seven rookies yet to be signed. With the eventual signing of all the rookies, and including the team's six NFL Europe roster exemptions, New England will have to cut five players to reach the NFL's 80-man roster limit.

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