Patriots officially sign Wilson; Hartline released

Patriots officially sign Wilson; Hartline released
May 15, 2012, 2:24 pm
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Now that the NFL's CBA makes it easier to determine how much rookies will be paid, first-year players are being signed at a breakneck pace around the league this offseason.

The Patriots officially got in on the act Tuesday, announcing that they have signed second-round pick Tavon Wilson. The defensive back from Illinois was the 48th overall selection in the 2012 draft.

Wilson is the first of New England's seven draft picks to sign after being one of the team's most surprising selections this spring. Though it was widely expected that the Patriots would improve their secondary through the draft, Wilson -- who wasn't invited to the NFL Combine -- was scarcely mentioned by pundits in the weeks leading up to draft weekend.

The Patriots, however, were undaunted in their pursuit of the athletic and versatile defensive back. Wilson played both safety and cornerback in college, and he should compete for time immediately in what was a very fluid secondary last season.

Terms of the contract were not announced, but Fox Sports reported last week that it is a four-year deal.

The Patriots also announced the release of quarterback Mike Hartline. Hartline, 23, had been signed to a future contract by the Patriots back in January.