NFL Football

Pats trade for Bennett, lose 2 starters to open free agency

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

By KYLE HIGHTOWER

AP Sports Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The defending champion New England Patriots were looking to a salary cap-friendly veteran addition and their existing depth to address the loss of two starters as the free agency period opened on Wednesday.

For the second straight season the Patriots will have a new starting left tackle to protect quarterback Tom Brady's blind side. Last season's starter, Trent Brown, was lured away from New England by the Raiders, agreeing to a new deal that a person familiar with it said is worth $66 million over the next four years . The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

New England also lost defensive end Trey Flowers to Detroit after multiple outlets reported he agreed to a five-year contract that could be worth as much as $90 million. With the Lions he'll be reunited with coach Matt Patricia, who was Flowers' defensive coordinator in New England.

Flowers made $1.9 million in the final season of his rookie contract last season and garnered a lot of attention on the open market. But the price tag was apparently more than the Patriots were willing to pay.

Brown's new deal is the richest NFL contract ever for an offensive lineman. Nate Solder, Brown's predecessor in New England, penned a four-year, $62 million contract to join the Giants last offseason.

New England will hope to fill Flowers' production with veteran Michael Bennett. New England was finalizing a trade with the Eagles to acquire the 33-year old on Wednesday. When the trade is completed, Bennett will join his fourth NFL team. He is coming off nine sacks in 2018 with Philadelphia and has had at least five sacks each of the past seven seasons.

Bennett is set to make about $7.2 million in 2019, the second season of the three-year, $30 million extension he signed with the Seahawks.

Bennett confirmed the trade in an interview with ESPN on Tuesday, saying he was excited to join the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick, who he referred to as "the Yoda of football."

"The Patriots are a team that people love to hate because they always win," Bennett told ESPN on Tuesday. "The opportunity to learn from that and be in that environment is good."

His younger brother, tight end Martellus Bennett, won a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots during the 2016 season.

It seems the Patriots are confident that Isaiah Wynn, whom they drafted 23rd overall in the 2018 draft, can fill Brown's void. Wynn missed the entire 2018 regular season after tearing an Achilles tendon in a preseason game.

Meanwhile, the Patriots' twin combination in the secondary will remain intact for another season.

Jason McCourty agreed to a two-year deal to stay in New England, according to a person familiar with that deal who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it had not been announced. It will allow him to continue playing alongside his twin brother and safety Devin McCourty. It also helps keep some continuity in New England's starting secondary, which features the McCourty brothers, safety Patrick Chung and cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Jason McCourty appeared in all 16 games during the 2018 season, including 12 starts at left cornerback. He finished with 70 tackles, one interception and 10 passes defended.

But the unit did lose some of its depth. Defensive back Eric Rowe agreed to a one-year contract with the Dolphins. A person familiar with that deal says it is worth $4.5 million. Rowe appeared in four games with the Patriots last season (two starts) before being placed on season-ending injured reserve with a groin injury.

Notes: The Patriots extended qualifying offers to receiver Josh Gordon and defensive back Jonathan Jones. The team placed second-round tenders on both, meaning any team that signed them would have to send back second-round picks as compensation. It keeps alive the possibility that Gordon could rejoin the team if he is reinstated after his latest suspension for violating an agreement that allowed him to play after multiple drug suspensions.

---

AP Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow contributed to this report.

---

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower

Updated March 13, 2019

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2019 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Teams Score Time
NCAA FB
Appalachian State   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina  
Ball State   Sat 7:00pm
NC State  
NFL
Carolina   Sun 4:05pm
Arizona  
Teams Score Time
Air Force   Fri 9:00pm
Boise State  
Utah   Fri 9:00pm
USC  
Boston College   Sat 12:00pm
Rutgers  
California   Sat 12:00pm
Ole Miss  
Elon   Sat 12:00pm
Wake Forest  
LSU   Sat 12:00pm
Vanderbilt  
Michigan   Sat 12:00pm
Wisconsin  
Southern Mississippi   Sat 12:00pm
Alabama  
Tennessee   Sat 12:00pm
Florida  
Western Michigan   Sat 12:00pm
Syracuse  
Appalachian State   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina  
Auburn   Sat 3:30pm
Texas A&M  
Louisville   Sat 3:30pm
Florida State  
Miami (OH)   Sat 3:30pm
Ohio State  
SMU   Sat 3:30pm
TCU  
UCF   Sat 3:30pm
Pittsburgh  
Washington   Sat 3:30pm
BYU  
Central Michigan   Sat 4:00pm
Miami  
Ball State   Sat 7:00pm
NC State  
Old Dominion   Sat 7:00pm
Virginia  
Oregon   Sat 7:00pm
Stanford  
Charlotte   Sat 7:30pm
Clemson  
Oklahoma State   Sat 7:30pm
Texas  
Notre Dame   Sat 8:00pm
Georgia  
Colorado   Sat 10:00pm
Arizona State  
UCLA   Sat 10:30pm
Washington State  
Teams Score Time
Interleague
Seattle   12:35pm
Pittsburgh  
San Francisco   1:05pm
Boston  
American League
Los Angeles   6:35pm
New York  
Toronto   7:05pm
Baltimore  
Detroit   7:15pm
Cleveland  
Kansas City   7:40pm
Minnesota  
National League
Philadelphia 0 1st
Atlanta 0
San Diego   4:10pm
Milwaukee  
St. Louis   7:15pm
Chicago  
Teams Score Time
Tennessee   8:20pm
Jacksonville  
Atlanta   Sun 1:00pm
Indianapolis  
Baltimore   Sun 1:00pm
Kansas City  
Cincinnati   Sun 1:00pm
Buffalo  
Denver   Sun 1:00pm
Green Bay  
Detroit   Sun 1:00pm
Philadelphia  
Miami   Sun 1:00pm
Dallas  
New York   Sun 1:00pm
New England  
Oakland   Sun 1:00pm
Minnesota  
Carolina   Sun 4:05pm
Arizona  
New York   Sun 4:05pm
Tampa Bay  
Houston   Sun 4:25pm
Los Angeles  
New Orleans   Sun 4:25pm
Seattle  
Pittsburgh   Sun 4:25pm
San Francisco  
Los Angeles   Sun 8:20pm
Cleveland  
Teams Score Time
Boston   7:00pm
Philadelphia  
Columbus   7:00pm
Pittsburgh  
Florida   7:00pm
Montreal  
Dallas   9:00pm
Colorado  
Vancouver   9:00pm
Edmonton  
Vegas   10:30pm
Los Angeles  
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT LAS VEGAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 19 Martin Truex Jr 24
2 4 Kevin Harvick 3
3 2 Brad Keselowski 18
4 9 Chase Elliott 8
5 12 Ryan Blaney 23
6 88 Alex Bowman 19
7 24 William Byron 14
8 42 Kyle Larson 15
9 22 Joey Logano 22
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT LAS VEGAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 2 Tyler Reddick 4
2 20 Christopher Bell 2
3 19 Brandon Jones 6
4 00 Cole Custer 1
5 7 Justin Allgaier 3
6 9 Noah Gragson 36
7 08 Gray Gaulding 16
8 23 John Hunter Nemechek 13
9 18 Riley Herbst 15
NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT LAS VEGAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 16 Austin Hill 7
2 45 Ross Chastain 2
3 51 Christian Eckes 1
4 2 Sheldon Creed 6
5 4 Todd Gilliland 3
6 30 Brennan Poole 18
7 24 Brett Moffitt 4
8 99 Ben Rhodes 13
9 18 Harrison Burton 9