New England Patriots sign DE Benard, QB Kafka

On Friday the New England Patriots signed DE Marcus Benard and QB Mike Kafka to “reserve/future” contracts for the 2013 season.

Benard and Kafka both already worked out with the Patriots this year, Kafka in September after his release from the Eagles, and Benard in December. Benard last played for the Cleveland Browns for three seasons, his best coming in 2010 when he had 2 starts in his 15 games played, finishing with 28 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Kafka was a fourth round pick for the Eagles in 2010 after playing college football at Northwestern. In his four appearances in 2011 he finished 11-16 for 107 yards and 2 interceptions.

What do these acquisitions mean for the Patriots? Likely not much. Both players are likely mere acquisitions to help with the preseason. With LB Dane Fletcher getting injured early in the preseason, I’m sure Belichick is more cautious about starting more of his key defensive players for an extended period of time. Since the Patriots only have two quarterbacks on their roster, they need another QB to split preseason time with current backup QB Ryan Mallett. Tom Brady is unlikely to play much of the preseason and if Mallett were to get hurt, they would likely have to settle for a sub-par replacement. Kafka will likely play a bit in the preseason and then be cut once the roster is finalized. Don’t expect him to out play Mallett and earn the backup QB role. The Patriots drafted Mallett because they saw him as Brady’s potential replacement down the line. I’d be shocked if they were to knock him down to third string QB.

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