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Patriots sign free agent wide receiver Bruce Ellington to super cheap one-year contract

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New England adds to its wide receiver group.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots are on the move. For the second time this free agency period and after adding running back Brandon Bolden earlier this week, the defending world champions have brought in an outside player to bolster their team: according to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, New England has signed wide receiver Bruce Ellington to a one-year contract after previously bringing him in for a workout.

Ellington has seen quite a lot of the NFL since getting drafted in the fourth round in 2014: he started his career with the San Francisco 49ers before joining the New York Jets for a couple of days in the summer of 2017. The 5’9, 200 lbs wideout then was picked up by the Houston Texans to play on a team led by former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. In 14 games in O’Brien’s system, he caught 37 passes for 422 yards and three touchdowns.

During his second season in the AFC South, in 2018, Ellington was placed on injured reserve and subsequently released off the list again. The Detroit Lions picked then picked him up and he went on to appear in four games for the team. Before his release in February, the 27-year-old caught 23 passes for the club coached by ex-Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia for a combined 132 yards.

All in all, he finished the 2018 season with 31 receptions for 224 yards and one touchdown. While the numbers per se are not spectacular, and Ellington is not the same caliber of big-name receiver like Golden Tate or Randall Cobb, he adds speed an experience in a Patriots-like system. Most importantly, though, he is another option behind Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman and recently re-signed Phillip Dorsett.

Furthermore, Ellington has experience as a kick returner. Over the course of his career, he ran back 48 punts for 372 yards and a 7.8 average, as well as 50 kickoffs for 1,279 yards and an average of 25.6 yards per runback.

[UPDATE] ESPN’s Mike Reiss has the contract details.

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