The New England Patriots cranked up the heat on their unusually quiet free agency period with a flurry of headline moves.
While the Patriots lost defensive tackle Akiem Hicks to the Bears, defensive tackle Sealver Siliga to the Seahawks, and safety Tavon Wilson to the Lions, New England was able to counter with some successful moves of their own.
First, New England ensured that both quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski would be under contract through 2019. They retained exclusive or restricted free agents like special teamer Brandon King and offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle. Then they extended free agent special teams star Nate Ebner and subsequently shipped him off to the Olympics.
And then the fun started. Remember that unsexy was the word of the offseason. Let's rank the Patriots moves from least sexy to most sexy.
8. Patriots sign defensive tackle Frank Kearse to a one-year contract.
7. Patriots sign special teams linebacker Ramon Humber to a one-year deal.
6. Patriots sign running back Donald Brown to a one-year contract.
5. Patriots sign linebacker Shea McClellin to a three-year deal.
4. Patriots sign defensive end Chris Long to a one-year contract.
3. Patriots sign Bills restricted free agent wide receiver Chris Hogan to a three-year deal.
2. Patriots trade defensive end Chandler Jones to the Cardinals for 2013 7th overall pick and offensive guard Jonathan Cooper and a 2016 2nd round pick.
1. Patriots trade a 4th round pick to the Bears for tight end Martellus Bennett and a 6th round pick.
Whew. We break down each of these moves on the podcast.