AFC East Notes: Gostkowski, Marshall, Jets

When he announced his decision to retire this week, veteran offensive lineman Dan Connolly was a free agent, no longer under contract with the Patriots. However, that didn’t stop New England head coach Bill Belichick from issuing a statement on Connolly’s retirement through the Patriots’ website today.

“Dan Connolly exemplified everything our program requires of players,” Belichick said in that statement. “He was tough and dependable, smart and team oriented and his work ethic ensured he improved on an annual basis to reach his potential. From where his career began as a developmental player to where it finished as a team leader and champion, Dan Connolly was a player I was proud to coach.”

Let’s round up a few more Friday notes on the Patriots and one of their AFC East division rivals….

  • Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links) provides the exact details on Stephen Gostkowski‘s four-year, $17.2MM contract with the Patriots. The extension includes a $6MM signing bonus and fully guaranteed salaries of $1.8MM in 2015 and $2.3MM in 2016, for a total of $10.1MM in guarantees. There are also annual $100K workout bonuses and per-game roster bonuses worth up to $200K per season.
  • Brandon Marshall‘s new team will be his last team, according to a tweet from the veteran receiver himself. In a Q&A session on Twitter on Thursday night, Marshall was asked what team he would eventually retire with, and the ex-Bear answered, “If I’m cut tomorrow. I’ll retire. This will be my last team.” Of course, considering the Jets traded for Marshall and gave him a slight pay bump earlier this offseason, the club doesn’t intend to release him anytime soon. When the time comes for the two sides to part ways, we’ll see if Marshall does indeed call it a career.
  • The Jets are already weighing a possible extension for Muhammad Wilkerson, with Sheldon Richardson nearing extension eligibility as well. As Brian Costello of the New York Post, nose tackle Damon Harrison is also entering a contract year, and the Jets will have some tough financial decisions to make if he gets any better.
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