The New England Patriots will lose their most versatile offensive weapon when NFL free agency opens Wednesday afternoon.
Multitalented wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson intends to sign a two-year, $10 million contract with the Chicago Bears, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday.
Patterson, who was traded from the Oakland Raiders to the Patriots last spring, emerged as a valuable Swiss Army knife for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in his lone season in New England. The 27-year-old caught 21 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns while also carrying the ball 42 times for 228 yards and one score.
Twenty-one of those carries came during a two-game stretch in which the Patriots, who were dealing with injuries to Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead at the time, used Patterson as their primary running back.
“Quite honestly, (the Patriots) are using him way better than we did,” Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who coached Patterson for three seasons from 2014 to 2016, said ahead of his team’s Week 13 visit to Gillette Stadium. “Cordarrelle is a great athlete, a very, very strong runner. I think they use him in a number of different ways. It’s good to see for him. I wish we would have used him a little bit better.”
Nicknamed “The Experiment” by quarterback Tom Brady, Patterson also continued to be one of the NFL’s top kickoff returners, ranking third in the NFL in kick return average (28.8 yards) and earning second-team All-Pro honors. He returned one kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown during a Week 7 win at Soldier Field — his new home stadium.
Patterson was one of three Patriots wideouts preparing to hit free agency Wednesday. Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett are the others.
Julian Edelman, Braxton Berrios, Damoun Patterson and special teamer Matthew Slater are the only New England receivers currently under contract for the 2019 season. Josh Gordon could join that mix, as well, if his indefinite suspension is lifted. The Patriots placed a restricted free agent tender on Gordon on Tuesday.
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