Ridley averaged a team-best 5.1 yards per carry and scored one touchdown in his rookie season, mostly in a reserve role. One of the notable differences between the former LSU Tiger and Green-Ellis is ball security, with fumbles being a concern with Ridley and Green-Ellis having never fumbled in 510 career carries.
The Patriots will hope that Ridley can help adequately replace the 667 yards and 11 touchdowns that Green-Ellis provided in the pass heavy New England attack. Veteran Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen, who was drafted one round ahead of Ridley in the 2011 draft, fill out the Patriots' depth chart at the tailback position.
The Patriots also reportedly inked one of Tom Brady's favorite targets in Deion Branch and former Dolphins nickel back Will Allen. Both players signed one-year deals.
Branch is entering his 11th year in the NFL and apparently generated no interest from any other team in free agency. He won a Super Bowl MVP with the Patriots in 2004 before leaving to play four and a half years in Seattle. The Patriots traded for Branch four games into the 2010 season. Branch was the fourth-leading reciever in New England with 702 yards and five touchdowns.
Will Allen wasn't re-signed by the Dolphins this offseason after they signed defensive back Richard Marshall. In a reserve cornerback and nickel back role, Allen recorded 43 tackes and three pass break ups in 2011. Allen has recorded five sacks and 15 interceptions in a 10-year NFL career with the Giants and Dolphins.
Follow Sean @seanldonovan
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily