FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Between trade acquisitions and free-agent signings, the New England Patriots have added 13 players since the league year began one month ago. That has sparked questions on which players have the most staying power.
@MikeReiss Mike, with all these new signings not everyone can make it on the final 53. Which new signing do you see getting the boot early?— Charlie Egan (@Cheags21) April 9, 2016
Here's one viewpoint of how it breaks down before we get to the pure competition of training camp:
TE Martellus Bennett -- He's already answered Tom Brady’s call -- which reflects his excitement at joining the Patriots -- and at 6-foot-6, 273 pounds, the club has big plans to pair him with Rob Gronkowski (6-6, 265).
G Jonathan Cooper -- Acquired in the trade for defensive end Chandler Jones, the fourth-year blocker should be given every chance to earn a starting job. If he seizes the opportunity, a guard combination of Shaq Mason and Cooper would be among the NFL's most athletic.
WR Chris Hogan -- Signed to a three-year, $12 million deal with $7.5 million guaranteed, he projects as a top-three option in the receiving corps.
DE Chris Long -- Motivated to play in meaningful games late in the season and into the playoffs after eight years and no postseason appearances with the Rams, he looks well positioned to be the No. 3-4 option alongside Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard and Trey Flowers/Geneo Grissom.
LB Shea McClellin -- Signed to a three-year deal with a base value of $8.95 million that could increase to $12 million if all incentives are reached, he is the leading candidate to be the third player at the position alongside Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower.
CB E.J. Biggers -- The eight-year veteran has inside-outside flexibility to add depth, while also factoring into the special-teams mix. But if the Patriots draft a high-upside cornerback, his chances would diminish.
RB Donald Brown -- Signed to a one-year deal after two seasons in San Diego, he adds depth at a position where the Patriots got caught short in 2015 but figure to add more help in the draft.
TE Clay Harbor -- The seven-year veteran inked a two-year deal worth up to $4 million, which includes a $400,000 signing bonus, reflecting how the Patriots think he can help them. But Gronkowski and Bennett are the top players at the position, with Michael Williams a strong blocker as a No. 3 option, so it's a crowded depth chart.
DT Markus Kuhn -- A fifth-year defensive tackle who spent the past four years with the Giants, he will compete for a reserve spot in a Sealver Siliga-type role after signing a one-year deal with a cap charge of $1.08 million.
WR Nate Washington -- The 12-year veteran who turns 33 in August adds depth at the position, but his chances to stick could be affected by the addition of a draft pick at the position, which is a strong likelihood. His limited work on special teams could hurt his cause.
LB Ramon Humber -- A special-teamer in the mold of former Patriots Tracy White and Chris White, it will come down to whether the team can absorb a roster spot for a player who likely wouldn't be a big part of the defensive plans.
DT Frank Kearse -- After the team signed Knighton and Kuhn, his chances to stick became that much slimmer if everyone is healthy among the big-bodied defensive tackle group.