Patriots

Chargers president lauds Pats pickup of Brown

donald-brown-chargers-broncos.jpg

Chargers president lauds Pats pickup of Brown

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.

NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

The New England Patriots just got whole lot of financial breathing room.

The Patriots have earned a total of $6.25 million in settlements from compensation grievances involving former wide receiver Antonio Brown and ex-tight end Aaron Hernandez, ESPN's Mike Reiss and Field Yates reported Saturday.

New England now has $7.79 million in cap space, per Reiss and Yates, a huge bump from the less than $500,000 in spending money the team had earlier this week.

Brown, who spent less than two weeks with the Patriots last September, filed a grievance against the team in October 2019 following his release seeking to receive his unpaid Week 1 salary, his $1.025 million guaranteed base salary and his $9 million signing bonus.

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The Patriots will pay Brown $5 million as part of the settlement, per Reiss and Yates.

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the Patriots on Hernandez's behalf in October 2013 seeking over $6 million in guaranteed salary. Hernandez was arrested and later convicted for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd and died in prison in April 2017.

New England was up against the cap after squeezing free-agent quarterback Cam Newton in on a one-year contract and inking all of its 2020 NFL Draft picks to rookie deals. With nearly $8 million in cap space, however, the Patriots have more flexibility to bolster their roster via free agency or trade.

Our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran suggested tight end David Njoku could be a strong fit in New England after requesting a trade from the Cleveland Browns, and there are a number of quality free agents still on the market, as well.

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Twelve days ago, Cam Newton was still a free agent looking for work.

But ever since he agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots, he's been very busy trying to get ready for the 2020 season, learning the playbook and developing chemistry with his new receivers.

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In addition to N'Keal Harry, whose workout with Newton was captured on video, rookie tight end Devin Asiasi was also catching passes from New England's new quarterback. Twitter user amirmehrtash15 took pictures with both Asiasi and Newton at the UCLA practice session and posted them in reponse to the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels.

The workout wasn't limited to Patriots, as Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was also in attendance.

Newton trying to fast-track a relationship with his new teammates makes perfect sense. He set up his first practice with Mohamed Sanu on the day he signed his Patriots contract, and in less than two weeks, he's already connected with three of the guys who will be among his top receiving options in 2020.

The Patriots certainly hope all that extra work pays off, as training camps could open as soon as the end of this month once the NFL and NFLPA can finalize preseason dates.