Malcolm Butler present for Patriots mandatory minicamp


Malcolm Butler present for Patriots mandatory minicamp

FOXBORO -- Minicamp began for the Patriots on Tuesday, the first of three consecutive days of mandatory practices. Here are a few quick-hit thoughts from the session. 

* Malcolm Butler was present and accounted for after missing the first open OTA session of the spring two weeks ago. The third-year corner will be a restricted free agent after this season. He's set to earn $600,000 in base salary in 2016. 

* Patriots missing from the practice were Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Shaq Mason, Josh Kline, Tre' Jackson, Nate Ebner, Dion Lewis, Duron Harmon, LeGarrette Blount and Logan Ryan.

* Long-snapper Joe Cardona, who made headlines this offseason because there was some uncertainty surrounding his availability to the Patriots as he honors his commitment to the Navy, was present for the practice. 

* Speaking of Navy, the Midshipmen football coaching staff visited Foxboro to take in the practice. Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has longtime ties to the Navy program, spent a few minutes early in the practice speaking to the coaches before they broke off to monitor individual position groups. 

* Former Patriots receiver Troy Brown, a member of the team's Hall of Fame, helped the coaching staff at Tuesday's workout. He could be seen working with wideouts early in the session as they ran combination routes against corners and linebackers. Former Patriots running back Sammy Morris was also seen working with the coaching staff once again. He was present for the open OTA session two weeks ago. 

* Linebacker Jamie Collins, who has become adept in pass coverage during his first three pro seasons, was spotted working alongside defensive backs as they honed their communication during 2-on-2 drills.

* The team practiced under cloud cover for much of the session, though the rain held off. Players wore shorts and practice jerseys with helmets.

* Tom Brady and Martellus Bennett spent a side session together while most of the rest of the team focused on special teams. The pair, apparently focused on developing their on-field connection, did something similar during the first week of OTAs. 

* Brady has generally been very accurate during the two practices that have been open to the media, though he seemed to get crossed up with one of his targets when he was picked off by Rob Ninkovich during a 3-on-4 passing period. 

* Aaron Dobson made the most impressive catch of the day, beating double-coverage down the field and reeling in a long Jimmy Garoppolo throw with one hand while falling down in the end zone. 

Phil Perry can be followed on Twitter: @PhilAPerry

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 


Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively


Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

The Patriots have acquired wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson in a trade with the Raiders, NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry confirms.

Pardon My Take, a podcast by Barstool Sports, first reported the news.

Ian Rapaport of NFL Network reports the Patriots sent a fifth-round pick to Oakland and received a Raiders' sixth-rounder along with Patterson.

More to come...