Vinatieri Still Loose
The New England Patriots added to their depleted receiving corps, dropped some dead weight in the secondary, and possibly remained in contention to retain their kicker.
The Boston Herald reported that Vinatieri, an unrestricted free agent, left Green Bay following a two-day visit without signing a contract. Vinatieri, revered as greater than a hero in Patriot nation, is expected to be seeking to become the highest paid kicker in NFL history.
Vinatieri, who has spent his entire 10-year career in New England, made $2.5 million last year, and two other kickers have been signed elsewhere in the $2.2 million range. The Packers were expected to offer as much as $3 million or even more per year, but there has been no word Green Bay tendered an offer.
Vinatieri was 20 of 25 last season.
Caldwell Joins Branch, Johnson on Receiving Corps
The Patriots signed unrestricted free agent Reche Caldwell on Friday. Terms were not disclosed.
Caldwell was taken in the second round (48th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft by San Diego and has spent all four of his pro years with the Chargers. He started every game his rookie year and started two, making 22 receptions for 208 yards.
Caldwell has 76 career catches for 950 yards and 7 touchdowns in 47 games. He garnered career highs of 28 receptions and 352 yards in 2005.
New England has lost receivers David Givens and Andre Davis in free agency. Long-time Patriot Troy Brown remains an unrestricted free agent.
Poole Cut After Three Seasons with Pats
New England cut 10-year veteran cornerback Tyrone Poole on Thursday.
Poole, 33, has been limited by injuries the last two seasons. He played in only the season opener against Oakland in 2005 and just five games in 2004. In 2003, Poole started every game for New England and tied for the team lead in interceptions with six. His 21 passe defensed ranked fourth in the league.
Poole also started all three postseason games in 2003, including Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Poole played with Carolina, Indianapolis and Denver before signing with the Patriots on March 11, 2003.
OL Neal, Ashworth Remain Free
Patriot offensive linemen Stephen Neal and Tom Ashworth remain on the market. Neal was recently in Buffalo, but there has been no word of a deal. Several of last year's Pats remain available, including Tim Dwight, Heath Evans, Chad Brown and Chad Scott.