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New England is waiving safety Obi Melifonwu and releasing tight end Lance Kendricks ahead of Brown’s addition to the active roster, NFL Network’s Mike Giardi reported Monday. Brown takes Melifonwu’s roster spot now that he officially has signed with the team, per the league’s transaction wire.
Melifonwu, a 2017 second-round pick of Oakland, inked a two-year deal with the Pats in 2018 after the Raiders cut him. He appeared in three games for New England, including the postseason, recording four tackles. The safety was inactive for New England’s 33-3 season-opening romp over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.
Kendricks signed with the Pats in July but was suspended for the first game of the season for violating the league’s policy on substances of abuse. On the day he was permitted to return to the Patriots‘ facility, the nine-year veteran will instead hit free agency.
Soon after the Raiders cut Brown on Saturday, the Patriots swooped in with a one-year, $15 million offer. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the full terms of Brown’s contract are as follows: $1 million fully guaranteed in base salary, a $9 million signing bonus ($5 million now, $4 million later), $500,000 in 46-man roster bonuses and performance incentives of $1.5 million for each of these — 105 catches, 1,298 yards, 16 TDs, or just more than Brown’s 2018 production (104/1,297/15).
If Brown hits all of those, he will earn a total of $15 million in 2019. No Patriots receiver has ever enjoyed such a stat line. The last Pats wideout to record at least 105 catches was Julian Edelman in 2013; the last to see at least 1,298 receiving yards was Wes Welker in 2012; and the last to score at least 16 receiving TDs was Rob Gronkowski in 2011.
Brown also has a $20 million option for 2020 that’s guaranteed if New England picks it up.