Bills free agent wide receiver Jordan Matthews signed a one-year contract with the New England Patriots and had at least one other reported offer from the Arizona Cardinals. He also took visits to Green Bay and Tennessee, having played his college ball at Vanderbilt in Nashville.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, the reason Matthews chose the Patriots had everything to do with the player who would be throwing him the ball: Tom Brady.
"In the end, it was relayed to me by someone close to wide receiver Jordan Matthews that Matthews’ decision to sign a one-year deal with the Patriots came down to this: He wanted to play with Brady," Reiss wrote. "Matthews, who also took free-agent visits to Arizona, Green Bay and Tennessee, had other offers to consider in addition to New England’s."
The Patriots had six former Bills on the 2017 team that reached the Super Bowl, although not all of them will be back in New England in 2018.
Stephon Gilmore, cornerback. Bills’ first-round pick in 2012 and was with the team until the 2016 season. Signed as a free agent with the Patriots in the 2017 offseason.
Mike Gillislee, running back. Spent the 2015 and ’16 seasons with the Bills and had eight rushing touchdowns in 2016. Signed with the Patriots in the 2017 offseason.
Eric Lee, defensive tackle. Was with the Bills for the beginning of this season and was signed off the practice squad by the Patriots in late November.
Alan Branch, defensive tackle. Spent the 2013 season with the Bills and was cut during training camp in 2014 after being arrested for DUI. He signed with the Patriots that October. He is a free agent.
Chris Hogan, wide receiver. Signed to the Bills’ practice squad in 2012 and made his regular season debut late in the season. He was with the team until 2015 and then signed as a free agent with the Patriots.
Lerente McCray, linebacker. Traded to the Bills from the Packers for a conditional 2018 draft pick before the 2016 season. He had 16 tackles in 13 games in his lone season in Buffalo. He then signed with the Patriots last offseason. McCray signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in March.