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New England Patriots sign Kenny Britt, welcome back Ricky Jean Francois

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The Sports Xchange
Former Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns receiver Kenny Britt is headed to the New England Patriots. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI
Former Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns receiver Kenny Britt is headed to the New England Patriots. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

The New England Patriots officially signed veteran wide receiver Kenny Britt on Wednesday, giving quarterback Tom Brady a taller, bigger target.

Britt, a veteran wide receiver who was waived by the Cleveland Browns last Friday, visited with the Patriots on Tuesday in Foxborough, Mass. The new deal is reportedly for two years.

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In addition, the Patriots announced they re-signed defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois.

To make room on the roster, the Patriots released linebacker Jonathan Freeny and wide receiver Bernard Reedy. New England also placed offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (ankle) on injured reserve.

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Britt, 29, played in nine games with four starts for the Browns this season, catching 18 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

The 6-foot-3, 223-pound Britt has played with the Tennessee Titans (2009-13), the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (2014-16) and Cleveland (2017). He entered the NFL as a first-round draft pick (30th overall) out of Rutgers by Tennessee in the 2009 NFL Draft. He was signed by the Rams as an unrestricted free agent on April 7, 2014, and by Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent on March 9.

Britt has played in 113 career games (76 starts), totaling 327 receptions for 5,114 yards and 32 touchdowns. Last season, Britt logged his first career 1,000-yard season with the Rams, collecting a career-high 68 receptions for 1,002 yards and five touchdowns. He had a career-best nine touchdown catches in 2010 with Tennessee, where he spent his first five NFL seasons from 2009 to 2013.

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Britt joins wide receivers Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola.

In 2014, the Patriots hosted Britt on a free agent visit, but owner Robert Kraft reportedly rejected the potential signing because of multiple off-field issues.

Jean Francois, 31, was originally signed by New England to the 53-man roster on Nov. 7. The 6-3, 313-pounder appeared in three games as a reserve for the Patriots and made three tackles before being released on Dec. 2.

Jean Francois played in six games this season for the Green Bay Packers before being released on Nov. 1. He has played for San Francisco (2009-12), Indianapolis (2013-14), Washington (2015-16) and Green Bay (2017). He originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick by San Francisco out of LSU in the 2009 draft.

Cannon, 29, missed six games due to injury. He started at right tackle in seven of the Patriots' first eight games this season before suffering an ankle injury. He was inactive in Weeks 10-14.

Freeny, 28, was signed by New England to the 53-man roster last Wednesday. He appeared in one game and made two tackles. The 6-2, 255-pounder spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons with New England before being released following training camp this summer on the final cut-down on Sept. 2. Freeny spent time with Baltimore and Jacksonville after being released by New England.

Reedy, 26, was signed by New England to the practice squad on Nov. 22 and elevated to the 53-man roster on Dec. 2. The 5-9, 175-pounder appeared in two games with the Patriots as a returner and totaled 32 yards on four punt returns.

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