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Pats get Kellen Winslow Jr., re-sign WR Deion Branch
The New England Patriots have apparently made a move that will help deal with the loss of Aaron Hernandez, at least for a short period of time. They've signed tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., according to an ESPN report.
EAG Sports Management, which represents the 29-year-old veteran, tweeted: Congrats to our client @KellenWinslowJr for signing with the Patriots!!!
Meanwhile, wide receiver Deion Branch has re-signed with the Patriots, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday.
While the Pats were forced to go with three wide receiver sets in the wake of Hernandez' absence during Sunday's 20-18 loss to the Cardinals after the tight end went down with a right ankle injury, the signing of Winslow, who reportedly inked a one-year deal, would allow them to go back to their multiple tight end sets, which the offense has been primarily geared around this season.
The Pats have two other tight ends on the roster along with Rob Gronkowski in Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomananawanui. Visanthe Shiancoe is also on short term injured reserve. Fells has struggled to stay on the field while Hoomananawanui struggled to block Sunday. Winslow, who had been in for a workout a few weeks ago, would help right away.
Winslow has played in every game in five of the last six seasons. Last year, he caught 75 passes for 763 yards for the Buccaneers. And before that, he had 66 for 730 (2010), 77 for 884 (2009), 43 for 428 (in 10 games in 2008), 82 for 1,106 (2007 for Cleveland), and 89 for 875. In those six years, he has 23 touchdown receptions.
Last year, Hernandez caught 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns.
Branch was one of the Patriots' final cuts during the preseason, but his name was never removed from his Patriots locker, which is right next to Tom Brady's.
Branch, 33, had 51 receptions for the Patriots last season, when he started 15 games.
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