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Patriots open free agency by adding Brissett, Gibson, bringing back Bourne, AP sources say

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots spent most of last season in shambles offensively. They spent first day of free agency trying to address that issue.

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett, receiver Kendrick Bourne and running back Antonio Gibson agreed to contracts with the Patriots, three people familiar with the deals told The Associated Press on Monday.

Brissett's deal is one year for $8 million, with incentives that could push it as high as $12 million. Brissett played for the Washington Commanders last season alongside Gibson, who is getting $11.25 million from the Patriots over three years with $5.3 million fully guaranteed. Those deals were confirmed by separate people who spoke condition of anonymity because free agents can’t sign with new teams until Wednesday.

Bourne is returning to New England on a three-year deal, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the extension hadn’t been finalized.

Guard Mike Onwenu confirmed on Instagram that he is signing a deal to stay in New England, writing: “Signed. We. Back. Pats nation let's go.”

The Patriots also announced the signing of veteran tackle Chukwuma Okorafor. A 2018 draft pick by Pittsburgh, the 26-year-old spent each of his first six seasons with the Steelers. He provides some depth on a Patriots offensive line that struggled with continuity and consistency last season.

In addition, receiver DeVante Parker’s agent, Jimmy Gould, confirmed to the AP that he’d been granted permission to contact other teams in advance of New England’s plans to release Parker when the new league year begins Wednesday.

All the moves are steps toward solidifying an offense that is being overhauled heading into coach Jerod Mayo’s first season. On Sunday, the Patriots traded quarterback Mac Jones to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a sixth-round pick in next month’s NFL draft.

New England holds the No. 3 overall pick and is expected to use it to select Jones’ replacement. Brissett is viewed as a veteran transition player while the Patriots' coaching staff develops its long-term solution at the position.

For Brissett, it's a reunion with the team that drafted him in the third round in 2016. He spent a lone season in New England, starting two games while Tom Brady served his “Deflategate” suspension. After spending last season with the Commanders, the Browns were a possible landing spot for Brissett, who started for Cleveland in 2022 while Deshaun Watson served his 11-game NFL suspension.

Instead, Brissett will be back with new Patriots offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, who also filled that position with the Browns in 2022.

Bourne was having his best season with the Patriots in 2023 before suffering a torn knee ligament in a Week 8 loss to Dolphins. He has played in 41 games over his three seasons in New England, totaling 127 catches for 1,640 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He said recently that he expects to be ready for the start of training camp.

Gibson had 48 catches for 389 yards and two touchdowns last season, averaging a career-best 8.1 yards per reception. He could give the Patriots a pass-catcher out of the backfield that they haven't had since James White retired before the 2022 season.

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AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi and AP Sports Writer Tom Withers contributed to this report.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl