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Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels, the former Offensive Coordinator in New England, is beginning to pluck players from the Patriots as he builds his Denver offense. On Friday, he signed WR Jabar Gaffney and long snapper Lonie Paxton to multi-year contracts.
Gaffney signed a four-year, $10 million deal, with $3 million in guaranteed money. He served as the Patriots’ No. 3 WR in 2008, finishing with 38 receptions for 468 yards and two touchdowns. Fans may remember his costly dropped touchdown pass against the Colts that ultimately cost the Pats a playoff spot.
Paxton, meanwhile, signed a five-year, $5.3 million deal, with $1 million in guaranteed money. He is now the second-highest paid long snapper in the NFL.
Reaction: This has certainly been a free agent frenzy on the first day of the NFL offseason. The Patriots lose some depth at wide receiver with the loss of Gaffney, but they can afford to move on without him. Belichick is good at finding wide-outs with good value, and he may find some in free agency in 2009.
Paxton has been very reliable for the Pats during his entire Patriots’ tenure. I’m not sure if they have any centers on the roster capable of long-snapping as well as Lonie, but Belichick obviously didn’t think he needed to make Paxton one of the highest-paid long snappers in the NFL. Look for Coach to find someone of value in free agency.