Friday, September 22

NFL free agency tracker: Patriots re-sign Matthew Slater; Ted Karras heads to Bengals – The Boston Globe

We’ll be tracking the latest news and rumors. Follow along below.

Patriots deals so far

▪ Special teamer Matthew Slater, 37, is reportedly returning to New England on a a one-year, $2.62 million fully guaranteed contract. It will be his 15th NFL season.

▪ The Patriots agreed to bring back backup QB Brian Hoyer on a two-year deal.

▪ The Patriots are bringing back versatile offensive lineman James Ferentz

Safety Devin McCourty is returning to the Patriots on a one-year deal worth $9 million.

▪ The Patriots are using a second-round tender on receiver Jakobi Meyers.

Who’s leaving?

Offensive lineman Ted Karras is signing a three-year, $18 million deal to join the Bengals.

What are the Patriots looking for?

The Patriots will look to upgrade the weapons around Mac Jones and get younger and more athletic on defense. Ben Volin says they need not one, but two receivers: They need a big, fast, alpha on the outside, and a small, quick possession guy in the slot.

He runs through some names of players who could fit well in either of those roles.

[ Budget-friendly defensive free agents | Budget-friendly offensive free agents ]

The Patriots’ own free agents

They also have several of their own players who are free agents: Ja’Whaun Bentley, Brandon Bolden, Trent Brown, Jamie Collins, Nick Folk, Dont’a Hightower, J.C. Jackson, Jakob Johnson, Brandon King, Gunner Olszewski, and James White.

Volin, Jim McBride, and Nicole Yang run through each of the names and weigh in on if the Patriots should re-sign them or let them walk.

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Patriots reportedly bring back Matthew Slater — 2:19 p.m.

Retirement seemed to be on the table for Matthew Slater, who said at the end of the season he needed to spend time discussing his future with his family before making a final decision. But the 10-time Pro Bowler has decided to return to the field for his 15th NFL season, signing a one-year, $2.62 million fully guaranteed contract, according to ESPN.

Slater, who turns 37 in September, played a team-high 80 percent of the special teams snaps last season. He earned second-team All-Pro honors.

By bringing back both Slater and McCourty, the Patriots have retained two of their most important leaders in the locker room. Both are longtime captains.

Patriots’ Ted Karras signing with the Bengals — 1:42 p.m.

Karras, who started 13 games at left guard last season, played an important role in stabilizing New England’s offensive line after a rocky start. He would have been a valuable piece moving forward, given his ability to also serve as a backup center, but the Bengals offered him a better contract: three years for $18 million, a league source confirmed.

Improving their offensive line was a high priority for the Bengals this offseason, as quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked a league-high 51 times last season. Cincinnati is also signing guard Alex Cappa, who started 17 games for the Buccaneers last season.

The Patriots already have a natural replacement for Karras on their roster. Michael Onwenu will likely slide in at left guard, alongside tackle Isaiah Wynn. The right side of the line remains in flux, with tackle Trent Brown still an unrestricted free agent.

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Looks like Matt Judon is doing some recruiting — 1:25 p.m.

Matt Judon is taking free agency into his own hands.

The Patriots linebacker jumped on Twitter on Monday afternoon to hit up a couple of his peers in the NFL. First up was Bobby Wagner, the 31-year-old linebacker who was released by the Seahawks last week.

“Call me,” Judon said in a message to Wagner.

Next, Judon tweeted at free agent receiver Allen Robinson, most recently with the Bears.

“What you doing,” Judon asked.

Steelers to sign QB Mitch Trubisky — 12:54 p.m.

Do we finally know who will replace Big Ben?

The Steelers are signing 27-year-old Mitch Trubisky, the former No. 2 overall pick, to a two-year deal.

Panthers release cornerback A.J. Bouye — 12:35 p.m.

Cardinals extend RB James Conner — 12:26 p.m.

Conner will stick around in Arizona on a three-year deal.

Browns releasing Jarvis Landry — 12:18 p.m.

The Patriots are in need of receivers. Would he be a good fit?

Chase Edmonds heads to Miami — 12:11 p.m.

The Dolphins are signing Edmonds to a two-year deal.

Tom Brady loses a starting guard — 12:01 p.m.

ESPN reports Bucs free agent Alex Cappa will sign a four-year deal to protect Joe Burrow in Cincinnati.

Dolphins re-sign Emmanuel Ogbah — 11:50 a.m.

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Katie McInerney can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @k8tmac. Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney. Nicole Yang can be reached at [email protected].

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