Andre Carter, Deion Branch Among 17 Patriots to Hit Unrestricted Free AgencySeventeen Patriots became unrestricted free agents at 4 p.m. Tuesday, when the NFL's new league year began.

The Patriots had until that time to exclusively negotiate with their crop of free agents, but now they're open to sign anywhere else.

The Patriots' list of free agents includes defensive end Mark Anderson, wide receiver Deion Branch, defensive end Andre Carter, offensive lineman Dan Connolly, defensive end Shaun Ellis, running back Kevin Faulk, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, linebacker Gary Guyton, safety James Ihedigbo, defensive back Nate Jones, center Dan Koppen, linebacker Niko Koutouvides, safety Bret Lockett, cornerback Antwaun Molden, wide receiver Matthew Slater, defensive lineman Gerard Warren and linebacker Tracy White.

Also, quarterback Brian Hoyer was given a second-round tender as a restricted free agent earlier Tuesday, and defensive tackle Kyle Love will return after being tagged as an exclusive rights free agent. Wide receiver Wes Welker has already been designated as the team's franchise player.

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