All is quiet on the New England Patriots’ exclusive-rights free agents.
They are not among the unrestricted likes of cornerback Darrelle Revis or running back Shane Vereen. They are, instead, players with fewer than three accrued seasons to their name. But by 4 p.m. Tuesday, when the new league year officially begins, some information should move the needle regarding them as well.
The Patriots will have to submit a one-year minimum salary tender to five players in order to retain exclusive negotiating rights beyond their expiring 2014 contracts. If a tender is indeed submitted to any one of those players, they will remain in New England. Though if not, they too will join Revis, Vereen and Co. as members of the unrestricted.
James Develin, Fullback: The former Brown Bear, Oklahoma City Yard Dawg, Florida Tusker and Cincinnati Bengal has played in every game for the Patriots over the last two seasons. And, now 26, Develin will reportedly be in the fold for another. In addition to his work on special teams and as a blocker, the 6-foot-3, 255-pound fullback has netted 15 rushing yards, 105 receiving yards, one regular-season touchdown and one postseason touchdown since 2013.
Brian Tyms, Wide Receiver: The 6-foot-3, 204-pound Tyms was added to New England’s 90-man roster in late July, just days into training camp. Once a Florida A&M Rattler, San Francisco 49er, Miami Dolphin and Cleveland Brown, the 26-year-old wideout went on to play in 11 games for the Patriots in 2014, carving a spot as a gunner while also catching five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. He had caught two career passes for 12 yards over his previous two NFL seasons. According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Tyms and the Patriots were working on a contract as of March 6.
Greg Orton, Wide Receiver: Orton suffered an Achilles injury less than a week into camp this past summer, opening a place on the roster after being waived-injured by the Patriots. The 28-year-old has been a member of three different NFL teams, two AFL teams and one UFL team since going undrafted out of Purdue in 2009. The 6-foot-3, 199-pound Orton initially joined New England as part of the practice squad in December of 2013.
Sealver Siliga, Defensive Tackle: With the future of the Patriots’ defensive tackle position unresolved, one would think Siliga will remain a part of it. Since signing onto New England’s practice squad and working his way up to the 53-man roster in the midst of the 2013 campaign, the 6-foot-2, 325-pound Utah Ute has started nine regular-season games. Only 24 and on his fourth NFL team, Siliga proved valuable enough for the Patriots’ organization to spent its short-term injured reserve designation on him in September of 2014, while the defensive tackle recovered from a foot injury. He’s registered 55 tackles, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble over his tenure in Foxborough.
James Morris, Linebacker: Morris signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent by way of Iowa last May, and linebacker consequently received $20,000 between his signing bonus and guarantees. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Hawkeye was released with a failed-physical designation four days later, only to re-sign with New England at the start of August. Morris was placed on injured reserve by the end of August, however, ending his rookie season.