|LONIE PAXTONDeal worth $5.38m|
Broncos' McDaniels gets Paxton, Gaffney
It didn't take Josh McDaniels long to raid his old team. The former Patriots offense coordinator, now head coach of the Broncos, wrangled two Patriots to join him in Denver, signing long snapper Lonie Paxton and wide receiver Jabar Gaffney.
Paxton inked a five-year, $5.38 million deal with a $1 million signing bonus. Among long snappers, only Cleveland's Ryan Pontbriand will be paid more.
"It was the only scenario we would leave [for]," said Paul Sheehy, Paxton's agent, pointing out that it is the second-richest deal awarded to a long snapper.
Gaffney reportedly signed a four-year, $10 million deal with $3 million in guarantees. He was fourth on the Patriots with 38 receptions last season and had 468 receiving yards and two touchdowns in seven starts.
Gaffney, 28, joined the Patriots midway through the 2006 season and quickly became a reliable target. In three seasons in New England, he started 20 of the 43 games he played, and had 85 receptions for 1,059 yards and eight touchdowns.
"I loved New England and being a Patriot," said Gaffney. "The fans up there are great, and it's just a great place to be. I'll always have love for New England, but the unfortunate part of the NFL is that it's a business and I had to go; it was too good of an opportunity for me and my family to pass up."
Paxton, 30, joined the Patriots as a free agent in 2000 and had spent all nine of his seasons in New England. He has handled the Patriots' long-snapping duties for 80 straight regular-season games and he helped kicker Stephen Gostkowski earn a Pro Bowl nod this season.
Paxton is remembered for his snow angel after Adam Vinatieri hit a game-winning 23-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Oakland Raiders in the 2001 AFC Divisional playoffs.
With Paxton's departure and the trade of linebacker Mike Vrabel, just seven Patriots remain from all three Super Bowl teams: Tom Brady, Matt Light, Kevin Faulk, Tedy Bruschi, Richard Seymour, Stephen Neal, and special teamer Larry Izzo, who is a free agent.
Keels said Bodden's visit went well, and he and the Patriots will continue to talk.
Bodden, 27, was released by the Detroit Lions earlier this month. He had one interception with the Lions. Detroit traded Shaun Rogers to Cleveland to obtain Bodden, then signed him to a four-year, $27 million contract extension.
The 6-foot-1-inch, 193-pound Bodden might be a good fit for the Patriots because he flourished in Cleveland when former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was his coach. Bodden had a career-high six interceptions in 2007 with Cleveland and picked off 11 passes in the three years he played in Crennel's system.