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Patriots Are Staying Quiet in Free Agency

March 15, 2019
Carolina Panthers cornerback Corn Elder tries to keep hold of Detroit Lions wide receiver Bruce Ellington during a Nov. 18, 2018, game in Detroit. AP FILE PHOTO Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

By Kevin Duffy

Boston Herald

FOXBORO -- Looking to add depth to the roster, the New England Patriots hosted several veteran free agents for visits Thursday afternoon.

They reportedly signed one of them, wide receiver Bruce Ellington, a 27-year-old who has played for the 49ers, Texans and Lions.

In his 44-game NFL career, he has made 79 catches for 769 yards and five touchdowns. He also had experiencing returns kicks with 50 kickoff returns and 48 punt returns.

He has scored a touchdown against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in each of the past two seasons, both as a Texan.

The Patriots have been quiet thus far in free agency, an unsurprising development given their cap constraints and tendency to hunt for value.

Entering the second official day of the new league year, prior to agreeing to a one-year deal with Ellington, the Pats had re-signed wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, cornerback Jason McCourty, and linebacker John Simon. The only outside addition had been running back Brandon Bolden, who spent six years in New England before moving to the Dolphins this past season.

The Patriots attempted to make at least one splash signing. They made a strong push for free-agent receiver Adam Humphries, according to a source. Humphries ultimately decided to sign with the Titans. The deal was announced Thursday morning.

Here were the free-agent visits on tap for Thursday (not including Ellington):

* Defensive end Allen Bailey (per Pro Football Talk): Bailey has spent all eight years of his NFL career with the Chiefs. He’s a long, physical interior defensive lineman who can move around and provide a pass rush (as evidenced by his six sacks a year ago). At 6-foot-3, 288 pounds, he’d be a solid fit alongside Lawrence Guy. The Patriots’ other top defensive tackles, Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton, are free agents.

* Tight end Matt LaCosse (per source): The 25-year-old LaCosse spent the past two seasons with the Broncos. When injuries hit late in the season, LaCosse was thrust into a more prominent role. He fared well, catching four passes for 43 yards in Week 15 against the Browns and securing five catches for 33 yards in the season finale versus the Chargers.

* Wide receiver Maurice Harris (per NFL Network): The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Harris has rare size for a slot receiver. He hasn’t produced much in his young NFL career, but he did turn in a 10-catch, 124-yard performance versus the Falcons a year ago. In that game, Harris was serving as the Redskins’ top inside receiver.