Pats claim Michael Floyd after DUI arrest, release by Cardinals

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Friday, December 16, 2016

The Patriotsclaimed former Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd off waivers Thursday, just three days after he was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and failure to obey a police officer.

Floyd was taken into custody after being found unconscious behind the wheel of his running vehicle at an intersection in suburban Scottsdale early Monday. He was booked and released from jail later that morning. The Cardinals released him Wednesday.

The Patriots have been carrying just four true wide receivers on their 53-man roster for most of the season, and their depth has been tested since No. 4 option Danny Amendola injured his ankle Dec. 4 against the Los Angeles Rams.

That led the team to sign free agent Griff Whalen to a one-year deal last week. But Floyd, a first-round pick in 2012, represents what appears to be an upgrade.Whalen was released Thursday to make room for Floyd.

Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell are the Patriots' top three wide receivers, with a combined 139 receptions for 1,762 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Floyd had 33 catches for 446 yards and four touchdowns for Arizona this season. Those were well off his stats in 2015, when he overcame early injury problems to catch 52 passes for 849 yards. His best season was 2013, when he hauled in 65 receptions for1,041 yards.

In claiming Floyd, the Patriots (11-2) inherit the remainder of his contract, which expires after the season. Floyd is scheduled to earn $1.2 million for the remainder of the regular season, and then would receive playoff shares that go to every player if he's on the Patriots roster in the postseason.

An unrestricted free agent after the season, he will count as part of the Patriots' compensatory draft-pick formula in the offseason if he signs elsewhere -- assuming he spends the rest of 2016 on the roster.

Floyd could face discipline from the league for the DUI arrest, but a punishment likely would not be imposed until the 2017 season.

The Cardinals mentioned Floyd's release without comment Wednesday in a news release that announced several other roster moves.

Arizona made Floyd the 13th pick overall in the 2012 draft after the receiver's standout career atNotre Dameunder former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and current coach Brian Kelly.

A couple of hours before New England made the move, Arizona receiverLarry Fitzgeralddescribed Floyd as "like my brother" after his release and said, "I love him dearly and like any other family member I never turn my back on him, no matter what."

"I'm going to support him," Fitzgerald said in his first public comments about his good friend. "I saw him yesterday. I'm going to see him again today. It's important during these times to support people when they're going through some stuff."

He said he'd met with Floyd on Wednesday and planned to do so again on Thursday.

Fitzgerald said Floyd was "going to be a great pickup for whoever lands him.

"You've got a young guy who's hungry, he's eager to make plays on a contract year,'' Fitzgerald said. "He's got a chip on his shoulder now, not that he didn't already have one, but he's got a bigger one -- and I hope he goes and makes a deep playoff run.''

Information from ESPN's Mike Reiss and Josh Weinfuss and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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