BOCA RATON – Somewhat buried in the avalanche of last week’s Patriots transactions was the pickup of free agent running back Donald Brown.
If you line up the other acquisitions made – Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett, Shea McClellin, Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick – Brown created the smallest buzz. Probably because he’s had the slightest impact.
Over his past two seasons in San Diego, Brown accounted for 144 carries and 452 yards and a touchdown. The (almost) 29-year-old – a first-round pick in 2009 by the Colts – has started just 25 games in seven seasons.
But the team Brown leaves behind thinks that, in New England, Brown is going to find football Valhalla.
“He is such a perfect Patriots signing,” said John Spanos at the NFL Owner’s Meetings on Saturday night. “I would bet anything he’s going to be a productive player for them.”
Why didn’t it work out in San Diego?
“This past year, we drafted Melvin (Gordon) with the 15th pick and we had Woodhead and the opportunities just weren’t there. And before that we had Ryan Mathews. He’s a good player. It just didn’t work out here but I believe it will for him there. Perfect player for them. And he’s a guy who’ll be the first guy in, does his work, does whatever he’s asked and just keeps to himself. He’s one of the players you really root for after they leave.”
The financial outlay for Brown is minimal. It’s a one-year, $965K deal with $300K guaranteed. He’ll come in with the chance to compete for reps in a running back group that includes sub-back Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden, James White and Tyler Gaffney. White figures to be the guy that will find himself in immediate and direct competition with Brown.
FOXBORO -- The Patriots will see some familiar faces Sunday when they play the Dolphins and former New England interior lineman Ted Larsen.
Then again, a suddenly interesting Bill Belichick noted Friday, the Patriots are used to seeing their players of seasons past end up elsewhere. In his estimation, the Patriots see their former players stay in the league moreso than most other organizations.
“There’s 70-something guys in the league like that that have been here and are playing for somebody else, or whatever the number is,” Belichick said when asked about facing Larsen. “It’s a lot. Seventy to 90, somewhere in there, depending on how you want to count the practice-squad players and today’s waiver wire vs. yesterday’s waiver wire. There’s a lot of guys out there. It’s one of the highest numbers in the league.”
Asked to clarify, Belichick responded, “I think we have more [former] players that are playing on other teams than other teams [do], or one of them. I don’t know if we’re the highest. We’re one of the highest; I can tell you that. We’re up there pretty high, but it depends on how you want to count them: starters, roster players, IR, practice squad. You can run the list that you run and count them up how you want to count them up, but we’d be up there pretty high.”
Belichick loosely estimated that there might be an average of three former Pats per team in the NFL. Of course, the actual number varies from team to team, with the Colts’ roster essentially looking like a Patriots museum.
Interestingly enough, the question of the total number was explored this offseason by Pats Pulpit, who determined in May that there were 91 former Patriots on other rosters.
LANDOVER, Md. - Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes to compensate for a pick-6, and the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants 20-10 on Thursday night on a drab field in a drab game between two injury-depleted teams that did not look ready for prime time. Click here to read more.