Ahead of Saturday's AFC Divisional Round playoff clash with the Kansas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots secured the future of wide receiver Keshawn Martin by signing him to a new contract.
ESPN.com's Field Yates was the first to report the two-year, $3 million deal, and it was later confirmed by Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, who also provided a further monetary breakdown:
Ben Volin @BenVolin
NFLPA records confirm that #Patriots signed WR Keshawn Martin to a 2-year extension. Was set to be a FA. Base salaries of $850K and $1M2016-1-16 13:55:24
The Pats have suffered through some major injury woes at the receiver position this season, with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell all missing some time. That prompted the organization to acquire Martin in a trade with the Houston Texans in September.
The 25-year-old Michigan State alum has filled some important roles for New England and contributed to the tune of 24 receptions for 269 yards and two touchdowns. He has also been a quality return man, averaging 11.5 yards per punt return and 25.7 yards per kick return, including a 75-yarder.
Martin has been an extremely useful player for the Patriots thus far, which prompted ESPN.com's Mike Reiss to compare him to another underrated former Pats receiver:
Mike Reiss @MikeReiss
Keshawn Martin, who @FieldYates notes has signed extension, reminds me of a Jabar Gaffney type in Patriots' offense. Versatile. Depth. Smart2016-1-16 13:21:44
While keeping Martin in the fold isn't the type of move that will win New England a championship, it certainly seems like a smart signing since the price isn't at all exorbitant.
The timing of the move is interesting since it comes just before a playoff game, but the Patriots clearly thought enough of Martin that they didn't want to risk him heading to free agency.
Head coach Bill Belichick has "his guys" who tend to excel under him and nobody else for whatever reason, and Martin seems as though he could be the latest example of that.
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