Dobson signs contract with Patriots
HUNTINGTON -- Former Marshall wide receiver Aaron Dobson signed his rookie contract with the New England Patriots on Thursday, according to the team's website.
Dobson's signing means that all seven draft picks of New England have agreed to contract terms and will be available at the start of preseason camp.
According to Isaac Conner, Dobson's agent and executive vice president with a3 Athletics, Dobson signed a four-year deal worth a total of $3.4 million. Of those numbers, $1.1 million of the contract is guaranteed and Dobson received a signing bonus in the vicinity of $873,000.
"I could tell he was smiling through the phone and I was, too," Conner said. "We've been working hard for the last month or so to come to a resolution, so there was a little relief there, too. It's a new chapter in his life. He's where he wants to be with the team he wants to be with. It's time to go to work."
Dobson was the last of the Patriots' draft picks to sign, but Conner praised both sides for their work. He said part of the delay had to do with other draft picks ahead of Dobson being unsigned and it was not the product of either side showing resistance during negotiations.
"They make things pretty easy," Conner said. "It was not an adversarial thing. We had a very good conversation and we knew where we stood. It took a little longer because some of the guys in front had not signed so we needed to see what the slot was worth. It wasn't an adversarial negotiation at all, though."
The Patriots selected Dobson in the 2nd round (59th overall) in this year's NFL Draft.
While at Marshall, Dobson finished his career with 165 receptions for 2,398 yards while tying former New England Patriot Troy Brown for fourth all-time in Herd history with 24 touchdowns.
Last season, Dobson finished with 57 receptions for 679 yards and three scores with the Herd.
Upon being drafted, Dobson heaped praise upon the Patriots and spoke of his excitement in joining one of the NFL's top franchises since 2000.
"They have a great organization and it starts up top," Dobson said. "That's why they are always in the playoffs and always in games."
In New England, Dobson will quickly become one of the top targets for future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, who is regarded as one of the league's best quarterbacks.
"I've been watching him and he's been doing this so well for so long...," Dobson said in a post-draft interview. "I was young when I was watching him. I had dreams of being one of those receivers out there. Now, we are going to be on the same team and I can be his top target. It's a blessing. It really is."
Dobson's importance to the team could be growing with the recent troubles with two of Brady's top targets -- tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
"Certainly with some things going on with New England right now, we feel he's got a great chance to step in and be one of Brady's top targets," Conner said. "He has to step in there and do the work."
Dobson's signing came on a day in which there was plenty of buzz about the Patriots' other Aaron -- Hernandez, who was being questioned for his involvement in a murder investigation.
The signing also came two days after Gronkowski underwent a back surgery, which is his fifth surgery since breaking his forearm in November.
Prior to his Marshall career, the Dunbar native was a standout for the South Charleston Black Eagles, leading the team to a Class AAA state title in 2008 after a year in which he had 45 receptions for 1,298 yards and 17 touchdowns.
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