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EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings made an addition to their receiving corps three days ahead of the start of training camp.

Former Jacksonville receiver Dede Westbrook signed with the Vikings on Monday, the team announced. The length of Westbrook’s contract is for one year, a source told ESPN.

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Also Monday, the Vikings waived rookie defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman with a non-football injury designation. Twyman, who was shot four times in Washington, D.C. in June, will revert to the team’s non-football injury list if he clears waivers.

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A former fourth-round selection by the Jaguars in 2017, Westbrook will reunite with Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell for a fifth consecutive season. McCardell coached wideouts in Jacksonville from 2017 to 2020.

Westbrook was brought in to Minnesota for a workout on Saturday. The 27-year-old receiver was inactive for five of the first seven games in 2020 while recovering from injuries that limited him dating back to training camp and sustained a season-ending ACL tear in Week 7. He finished the 2020 season having appeared in two games (Weeks 5 and 7) and finished with one catch for four yards.

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During the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Westbrook totaled 66 catches each year for at least 660 yards and three touchdowns.

Seeking depth behind Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, the Vikings will now have Westbrook compete for the No. 3 receiver role along with veterans Chad Beebe, Bisi Johnson and a handful of rookie receivers signed this spring. Westbrook could also potentially be in the mix as a returner given his experience on punt return (42 returns for 398 yards and a touchdown in 2018-19) and limited experience on kickoff return in 2018 and 2020.

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The biggest free-agent signing for the Patriots defensive line came in the form of Davon Godchaux, a towering interior defender with nose tackle potential. When on the field, he should be more of a factor for the Patriots on early downs against the run than almost anyone on the roster was in 2020.

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But the question for Godchaux, who signed with the Patriots for two years and up to $15 million, is health. He’s coming off a season in which he only played five games, and struggled to regain a spot on the active roster late in the 2020 season for the Dolphins. So he has people to prove wrong in New England. He does sound like he has the right kind of “Do Your Job” mentality that Bill Belichick would want in a guy manning the middle of the defensive line.

“I just feel like doing your job is all a part of being yourself,” Godchaux said in his introductory press conference in March. “Make plays, but be yourself and do your job in that scheme. Don’t try to make plays outside of what you’re assigned to do. I feel like once you do that, it makes it a lot easier.”

The Patriots also signed former Jets defensive lineman Henry Anderson, but for less than half the money they committed to Godchaux. Anderson should be a solid edge-setter, though, which would correct a problem the Patriots have had up front since losing Trey Flowers two years ago. But Godchaux is clearly the one D-lineman expected to give the unit an immediate adrenaline shot.

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Rookie Wild Card
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The aforementioned “promising rookie” is, of course, former Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore. The clear No. 1 prospect at the position in the 2021 NFL Draft, Barmore became a Patriot after the team traded up to the 38th pick to snag him.

It’s rare for rookies to make an immediate impact in New England, especially on defense. But Barmore has a real opportunity in front of him to, at the very least, see the field on third down and in obvious passing situations. He likely needs time to develop and round out his game as he gains professional experience, but his raw explosiveness could make him a factor as a pass-rusher in year 1.

If Barmore doesn’t pop as a rookie, then the pass-rushing talent on the defensive line is a particular question mark. It could be an area where the Patriots have to rely on scheme, and on their veterans to execute it.

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Belichick’s spending spree on the front-seven prompted questions of whether Lawrence Guy would return. But after a brief time as a free agent, Guy ultimately re-signed with the Patriots for four years and up to $11.5 million. The 31-year-old now appears likely to play out the rest of his career in New England.

Guy was as steady and dependable as anyone on the Patriots roster from 2017-2020. He played in 62 of a possible 64 games, starting 60 of them. In 2020, he recorded 57 tackles, four tackles for loss, seven quarterback hits, and two sacks in 14 games.

With a significantly improved roster around him on both the defensive line and at linebacker, Guy should actually have more space opened up for him. But against the run, anyway, Guy should continue to be a stout presence. And if Godchaux and Anderson are healthy and flanking him, Guy will be in even more of a position to succeed.

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Of the Patriots’ long-term signings in 2021, Deatrich Wise was arguably the most surprising. A four-year extension for as much as $22 million didn’t seem likely after 2020. But Wise has steadily risen as a leader in the Patriots’ locker room, and remains among their most credited players for how hard he works and the example he sets.

The problem with Wise hasn’t necessarily been his fault. He’s always been more of a fit for a 4-3 defense, and his attempt to transition into more of a 3-4 defensive end role over the past two seasons hasn’t translated to great success. But now that Wise won’t necessarily have to play every down or set the edge against the run, Belichick can pick his spots and put him on the field in situations where he can get to the quarterback.

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Along with Guy, Wise is now the Patriots’ longest-tenured defensive lineman. And with his new deal locked in, he’s a candidate to become a team captain for the first time, too.

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The Rest…
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At the end of the defensive line depth chart, there’s a mixed bag of free agents, journeymen, and kids. Byron Cowart is entering his third season, coming off a 2020 campaign in which he started 14 games and recorded a sack, three QB hits, and a batted pass. Cowart has made steady progress after being drafted as a fifth-round pick in 2019 and should have a good chance to stick around.

There’s legitimate competition, though. Veteran Carl Davis, who joined the Pats midway through the 2020 season, made immediate headway on the roster before injuries derailed him. He re-signed with the Patriots in March and should push for a roster spot. The Patriots also signed former Packers defensive end Montravius Adams, a more unheralded signing than Godchaux or Anderson.

A group of young practice squad candidates remain from 2020, including Nick Thurman, Tashawn Bower, Akeem Spence, and Bill Murray. But with the reinforcements in the fold, it’ll be hard for any of them to elevate to the main roster this time around.

Projected Depth Chart: Patriots Defensive Line
Defensive End:

1. Deatrich Wise
2. Henry Anderson
3. Montravius Adams
4. Tashawn Bower
5. Nick Thurman

Defensive Tackle:

1. Lawrence Guy
2. Davon Godchaux
3. Byron Cowart
4. Christian Barmore
5. Carl Davis
6. Akeem Spence
7. Bill Murray

The Patriots are still likely to operate out of a 3-4 base, if not a 3-3-5 “Nickel” set. Either way, they’re looking at three down linemen, which explains the greater depth on the interior.

While the pass-rushing in this group will enter the season as a concern, the run defense should be vastly improved over 2020, which would make life a lot easier for the defense as a whole.

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The New England Patriots really transformed their defensive this offseason, which was highlighted by free agent additions like Matt Judon and Jalen Mills.

They also brought back Kyle Van Noy, signed Davon Godchaux and further bolstered their defensive line in the form of draft picks Christian Barmore and Ronnie Perkins.

The return of linebacker Dont’a Hightower, meanwhile, is arguably the biggest addition of them all. Seemingly, the change never ends.

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Despite all that, however, fans are still concerned about the Patriots’ pass rush, and understandably so given Judon is the only proven commodity in that department.

We’ll get more into why there’s so much skepticism later on For now, the Patriots have a tremendous opportunity to cement their status as a contender.

On Sunday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Cardinals star Chandler Jones, disgruntled with his contract, requested a trade from the organization this offseason.

With this in mind, can the Patriots make room for Jones?

All-Pro pass rusher Chandler Jones requested a trade from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, per sources. Jones has been unhappy with his contract and future with the team. Cardinals don’t want to trade him and expect him to report to camp. But certainly a situation to watch.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 25, 2021

Should the Patriots pursue a trade for Chandler Jones?
When you consider it’s still up for debate who’s going to start opposite Judon on the edge, the Patriots could absolutely find room for Jones. As things stand, the likes of Deatrich Wise, Henry Anderson and Lawrence Guy are the candidates for that starting spot.

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Since Guy and Wise are more than capable of playing on the interior — and they’ll likely need to play significant snaps there if Godchaux takes time to adapt to a new system — New England could easily justify adding Jones to the mix.

After all, neither one of Wise, Guy or Anderson have come close to replicating the pass-rushing numbers Jones has produced with the Cardinals. From 2015 to 2019, the former Patriots first-round pick racked up 254 tackles (78 for loss), 72.5 sacks, 116 QB hits, and 21 forced fumbles.

Jones also missed just one game during that span. While the three-time Pro Bowler underwent season-ending surgery to repair a biceps injury last year, we’re talking about a historically durable player … one that has the most sacks of any player (92) since he entered the NFL.

Since entering the NFL in 2012, Chandler Jones leads the NFL w/ 97 sacks https://t.co/b3S13IEk4V pic.twitter.com/V13tEjQ9dq

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The one caveat that would come with trading for Jones, however, is that the Patriots, who have roughly $17.5 million in leftover cap space, wouldn’t be able to afford his $15.5 million cap hit for the upcoming season. Because of that, they’d likely have to sign the nine-year pro to a contract extension, which would lower his 2021 cap figure.

As long as the Patriots are on board with that — and giving up multiple draft picks and maybe an impact player/young asset — this is a trade you make 100% of the time.

After all, Jones could be the best version of himself in Bill Belichick’s system.