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Patriots sign WR Damiere Byrd to 1-year deal

Damiere Byrd, Patriots

The New England Patriotsfirst move in the post–Tom Brady era is inking veteran wide receiver Damiere Byrd to a one-year contract.

Per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the AFC East franchise agreed to a one-year deal with the 27-year-old former Arizona Cardinals wideout.

Byrd was an undrafted free agent in 2015 out of South Carolina, signing with the Carolina Panthers, later joining the practice squad and signing a futures contract with the club. Byrd only appeared in 17 games across three active seasons with the Panthers before being placed on the injured reserve list in Nov. 2018 after breaking his arm.

Byrd signed with the Cardinals last spring, and he recorded 32 catches for 359 receiving yards, scoring a single touchdown in 11 games with the Cardinals. The former Gamecock receiver also played in 43 percent of Arizona’s offensive snaps last season, per Pro Football Reference.

Without an official announcement made, future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady is expected to sign as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady spent 20 years in New England, and Byrd will have to be on the receiving end of targets by a new face under center for the Patriots.

Byrd also spent time with the Panthers on special teams as a kick and punt return man, signaling New England’s low-level acquisition of the ex-undrafted wideout could be a versatile pick-up on the second day of the NFL’s free agency, which started Monday, March 16.

Besides signing Byrd, the Patriots still have high-level decisions to make as several free-agent players signed elsewhere along with Brady.