With less than a week away before the start of training camp, the New England Patriots are finishing up their final offseason transactions. This past week, the Patriots added veteran cornerback Tarell Brown and locked up punter Ryan Allen with a three-year contract extension, that has the option to renegotiate after two seasons.
Tarell Brown is an eight-year NFL veteran, spending his first seven years with San Francisco only to cross the bay to Oakland in year eight. He was a starter on three very successful San Francisco defenses in the years 2011-2013. He was a key contributor to their NFC Championship squad in 2012, when they fell short against the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.
Brown will immediately compete for a starting role on the Patriots defense, given the lack of experience on the depth chart. At 5-11, 190 pounds Brown is smaller, but his savvy will certainly be beneficial for the Patriots. Their is a multitude of young cornerbacks on the Patriots roster that look to have ability, but experience is what is cause for concern right now.
Heading into his ninth season, experience certainly won’t be an issue for Tarell Brown. In his time he has intercepted eleven passes, with fifty-nine passes defended. Last season Brown played in fourteen games with the Raiders, while giving up 42 receptions on 67 targets for 571 yards and one touchdown, according to Pro Football Focus.
His season was cut short due to a foot injury that landed him on injured reserve. The only question now is whether or not that injury will slow down his start to the 2015 season.
The contract extension for punter Ryan Allen came as a real surprise because it is so out of the ordinary for Bill Belichick to extend his punter long-term.
There have been two constants for Bill Belichick’s punters over the past fifteen years; They are left-footed and they are only wanted for three seasons. Ken Walter, Josh Miller, Chris Hanson, and Zoltan Mesko all produced fairly well for the Patriots, but none were worthy of contract extensions.
Even though he has only been in the league for two seasons, Ryan Allen is already starting to show more ability than any of the previous punters in the Belichick era. Since coming to the Patriots as a free agent out of Louisiana Tech in 2013, the two-time Ray Guy Award winner has averaged 46.1 yards per punt with a net average of 40.2.
In 2014 he landed 25 of his 66 punts inside the 20-yard line. In addition, Allen launched the longest punt in Super Bowl history against the Seahawks with his 64-yard boot. Furthermore, Allen has been a very good holder for kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
To conclude, the New England Patriots have continued to add to their roster heading right into training camp this Thursday. With the addition of Tarell Brown, the Patriots will have a veteran cornerback in a meeting room that will be full of young and inexperienced players. His veteran intellect may be a key part in helping young players such as Darryl Roberts, Jimmy Jean, and Malcolm Butler grow.
With the extension of Ryan Allen, Bill Belichick now has his three key pieces of the special teams unit locked up for the next four years with Allen, Stephen Gostkowski, (who just received a four-year extension) and long snapper Joe Cardona signed through 2018.