Pats To Work Out Trio Of Vets Monday

Bill Belichick’s already added three Pro-Bowlers this summer. He might not be done.

Earlier tonight the Boston Herald’s Ian Rapoport first reported the team was having wide receiver T. J. Houshmandzadeh in for a visit. Moments later Len Pasquarelli of Sports XChange reported safeties Darren Sharper and Renaldo Hill would also be working out Monday.

Houshmandzadeh is entering his eleventh season as a pro. He spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Bengals. In 2007 with Cincinnati he was voted to the Pro Bowl after tying Patriots wide out Wes Welker for the most receptions in the league. The Oregon State alum spent 2009 with Seattle before landing in Baltimore in 2010. If he catches on in New England, Houshmandzadeh would be reunited with Chad Ochocinco; the two played together at OSU before playing together in Cincy from 2001-2008 (Ochocinco was known as Chad Johnson then). Current Patriots WRs Julian Edelman, Brandon Tate and Taylor Price have all missed practice time this weekend.

Sharper is a five-time Pro-Bowler entering his fifteenth season. He was voted to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team and was a key part of the Saints Super Bowl run two seasons ago. He previously played for the Packers and Vikings and has recorded 63 interceptions, 11 of which were returned for touchdowns.

Hill is a journeyman entering his eleventh season. He played for Belichick disciple Josh McDaniels in Denver the last two seasons. He also spent time with Miami under head coach Nick Saban, another former Belichick assistant. He was coached by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, another ex-Belichick assistant, in 2005 with the Raiders. His first four seasons were with the Cardinals (no Belichick connection there).

Ravens land Lee Evans

Lee Evans shredded Baltimore’s secondary last season. Now he can do it every practice.

The Ravens acquired the Wisconsin alum today from the Bills for a fourth round pick in next year’s draft. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the story.

Evans, Buffalo’s first round pick (13th overall) in 2004, started his career strong with the Bills. As a rookie he had 843 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns. He had a 1,000 yard season in 2006 and again in 2008.

He was limited to 37 catches for 578 yards and 4 TDs last season. He missed the last three games with an ankle injury. His own shining moment in 2010 came in week six at Baltimore when he notched 6 receptions for 105 and 3 touchdowns (his last TDs of the season in fact).

In Baltimore the 5’11 Evans will be a compliment for 6’1 Anquan Boldin. The Ravens have spent the last two off-seasons searching for weapons to aid Joe Flacco‘s development. From Buffalo’s perspective the fourth rounder is roughly equal to the compensation Cincinnati got (a fifth and sixth rounder) when they dealt away Chad Ochocinco earlier this off-season.

Logan Mankins Signs Contract Extension

What a difference a year makes. Patriots Pro-Bowl Guard Logan Mankins spent last summer ripping the team’s ownership during a contract dispute.

Now, fourteen months after those comments, the Fresno State product has agreed to a new six-year deal that will likely guarantee he’ll retire in New England. The deal, as reported by Mike Reiss, will make Mankins the highest paid interior lineman in the league.

Mankins was New England’s 2005 first round pick (32nd overall). When he was drafted ESPN’s ‘draft-expert’ Mel Kiper ripped the pick. Mankins made the Pro Bowl in the 2007, 2009 and 2010 seasons (even though he missed half of 2010 because of the contract dispute). He was an all-pro in 2007 and 2010, and was named to the Pats 50th Anniversary team alongside Hall of Famer John Hannah.

Andre Carter Says He’s Joining Patriots

Stop me if this sounds familiar: the Patriots are set to add a defensive end.

Around 9pm Andre Carter tweeted “I am proud to announce that I will be playing for the New England Patriots for the 2011 season. Thanks you for your prayers and support.”

The move came the day the Patriots signed DE Shaun Ellis and two days after they signed DE Mark Anderson. Carter is a 2001 first round pick. He was taken seventh overall, one pick after New England selected Richard Seymour.

In ten seasons split between the 49ers and Redskins Carter has notched 66 sacks.

The move is the strongest sign yet New England is moving to the 4-3. He signed with Washington in 2006 after San Francisco switched away from the 4-3. On the defensive switch Carter said “When the 49ers announced they were changing to a 3-4, I’m like, ‘Oh, great, But I did it. I feel that’s a testament to my character. I made some plays , but it took me out of some plays as far as getting to the quarterback.”

Not surprisingly he struggled last year as Washington transitioned to the 3-4. He started only five games and had 2.5 sacks, and was released after the season.

Pats Sign DE Mark Anderson

Here’s some trivia for you: who set the Chicago Bears rookie record for sacks? It’s not Hall of Famer Richard Dent. Nor is it seven-time Pro-Bowler Brian Urlacher.

The correct answer is 2006 fifth round pick Mark Anderson, who recorded 12.0 sacks in his first year out of Alabama (Urlacher had the previous record with 8, Dent only had 3; sacks weren’t an official stat until 1982).

Today, the Patriots signed the Defensive End to bolster their pass rush. Anderson, 6’4 255 lbs, started last year with Chicago before released and signed by Houston. He played fifteen games last year and started three, recording 4.0 sacks.

He hasn’t lived up to his rookie campaign, recording only 13.5 sacks since the start of the 2007 season. Playing on a defensive line next to Vince Wilfork and Albert Haynesworth (or Alvince Wilfsworth as I prefer to call them) should help him out.

Anderson’s only played in the 4-3 in his career, so his signing could confirm rumors Bill Belichick is planning to utilize the 4-3 more this year.