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Patriots Sign Rookie Outside Linebacker Markell Carter

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Although the Patriots have been very quiet on the free agent market thus far, the team has finally signed one of its own rookies.  According to Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald, the Patriots have inked 6th round rookie outside linebacker Markell Carter to a four year deal:

Outside linebacker Markell Carter, a sixth round pick from Central Arkansas, has signed a four-year contract, according to agent Alvin Nelson. Carter is slated to receive a signing bonus of $94,000.

Like all rookies, the 6-foot-4, 248-pound former college defensive end has escalators in the fourth year of his contract based on playing time. If he plays 35% of the snaps in two of the first three years or averages 35% over three years, his fourth year increases to an amount that is $1.2M in 2011 but will increase with the cap.

"Markell is really excited to be with the Patriots," Nelson said.

While not much will be expected of Carter in his rookie campaign, he certainly has a fair chance to compete and make the roster this training camp, especially when factoring in the impending release of Tully Banta-Cain.

Presumably, the rest of the Patriots rookie signings will trickle in throughout the afternoon and into the evening, so that the team can have the players into camp when the practices officially begin at 9:30 AM tomorrow.