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Friday, March 15, 2013

Patriots Sign Donald Jones, Bring Back Kyle Arrington For Four More Years

Thanks to Twitter and the fine work of tireless NFL writers, we can all feel like ESPN's Adam Schefter with all the non-stop action in terms of NFL free agency. Today, the Patriots signed former Bills wide receiver Donald Jones (terms of the contract weren't known) and re-signed cornerback Kyle Arrington to a four-year deal.

In addition to those moves, running back Danny Woodhead signed a two-year deal with San Diego and the Patriots hosted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders ( I like him better than Jones but he's nothing special), defensive ends John Abraham and Dwight Freeney along with safety Adrian Wilson. If you need to sit down for a second or stop looking at the computer screen, I understand. Can you say ice cream headache? Woodhead will be missed but with Leon Washington, his role was basically eliminated.

Jones won't set the world on fire but he registered career-highs in catches (43), receiving yards (443) and receiving touchdowns (4) last season in Buffalo with the erratic Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him the ball. The Pats obviously saw him up close and personal the last three years and he had two solid performances against them in 2012: he combined for eight catches, 164 receiving yards and two touchdowns (1 in each game). He set a career-long with a 68-yard catch against New England in Buffalo in Week 4. Hopefully, he can learn the playbook quickly and find a connection with Tom Brady. It could do wonders for his career, we'll have to wait and see.

Arrington fell to third on the Pats cornerback depth chart last season after they acquired Aqib Talib and the emergence of rookie Alfonzo Dennard. Now, Talib is a free agent (who knows if he'll return) and Dennard is potentially facing jail time, they had to bring Arrington back since he's young (26) and entering his fifth year in New England's system. He's durable since he's played 16 games in each of the last three seasons and versatile because he also plays on special teams. His seven interceptions in 2011 seems like a random blip since he had zero interceptions last season but I have no problem with a few more years of Arrington.

Moving forward, the Patriots need to keep bringing in talent on defense. Veterans like Abraham, Freeney and Wilson are all appealing since while they might be a bit long in the tooth, they can still make plays and most importantly, they can bring the leadership that they side of the ball desperately needs with so many young but important guys on the team (Devin McCourty, Chandler Jones, Brandon Spikes, Dont'a Hightower, etc).

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