Almost every team in the NFL has been extremely busy since the NFL lockout was lifted, and the Patriots are no exception. In fact, they've been especially active, as they look to increase their chances of returning to the Super Bowl.
The two moves that have the crowd buzzing this offseason are the trades involving wide receiver Chad Ochocinco and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
Both players arrive in New England after some tumultuous times with their former teams, although both look ready to conform to the Patriot way.
Ochocinco is a six-time Pro Bowler and a two-time First-Team All-Pro. He's become more known for his off-field antics in recent years and has failed to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in two of the last three seasons. But he's accomplished the feat seven times over the course of his professional career and remains a viable threat for Tom Brady going forward.
The Pats acquired the 33-year-old receiver for a draft pick, and subsequently inked him to a new three-year deal. It remains to be seen what kind of impact he'll have with his new team, but Ochocinco has already referred to playing in New England as "heaven."
Haynesworth, who has also stressed a lot of respect for the Patriots organization, was acquired for a draft pick, as well. After two controversial seasons in Washington, the two-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro will look to return to the dominant player he was for the Titans.
But while these trades have dominated headlines, the Patriots also made some major moves regarding their own players. The Pats made it a point to sign offensive linemen Matt Light and Logan Mankins, as well as running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk.
Light signed a two-year contract worth $12 million — including $7 million guaranteed. The 10-year veteran and three-time Pro Bowler said shortly after that he was 'fired up' to be back in New England.
Mankins, who's also become a huge asset when it comes to protecting Brady, was offered a franchise tender, which he ultimately decided to sign. It's worth roughly $10 million, but Mankins has become one of the game's premier offensive lineman, making the Pro Bowl in three of his six NFL seasons.
Green-Ellis, who racked up over 1,000 yards (the first Patriot to do so since Corey Dillon in 2004) and 13 rushing touchdowns last season, will also be back in New England. He had been a restricted free agent, but the team is bringing him back to see if he can duplicate his stellar 2010 campaign.
Kevin Faulk, who's played in New England since 1999, will join Green-Ellis, among others, in the Patriots' back field this season.
Faulk only appeared in two games last season after suffering an injury, and there was some question as to whether he would decide to call it a career. But Faulk isn't ready to retire just yet, and the Patriots are happy to have him back.
Faulk has previously said, "'If I can't play for the Patriots, I'm not playing for no one."
Then, of course, the Patriots decided to release linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, who followed up his 10-sack season in 2009 with a five-sack season in 2010 — which included starting only six of the 15 games he appeared in.
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