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Report: Leon Washington to visit New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have a plan to replace wide receiver Wes Welker. It starts with Danny Amendola, but it's not going to end there.

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Welker, who returned punts for the Patriots, agreed to a two-year deal with the Denver Broncos on Wednesday. Free agent Leon Washington might be in line to take over Welker's returner role for the Patriots.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Washington will take visit Foxborough on Thursday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also have shown interest in the former Seattle Seahawks running back, but the visit with the Patriots is a strong sign Washington could return to the AFC East (his career started with the New York Jets).

Also visiting the Patriots on Thursday: Former Bills wide receiver Donald Jones, according to Tim Graham of The Buffalo News. Jones would add some needed depth to a thin Patriots receiving corps.

The Patriots signed former track star Jeff Demps last offseason for possible help on returns, but his future in the NFL is uncertain. Washington still is a solid return man, coming in second last season in kickoff-return average. The Patriots also were rumored to be interested in Cleveland Browns kick returner Josh Cribbs, who remains a free agent but is expected to sign with the Arizona Cardinals.

With the Welker drama over, the Patriots have a lot of work left to do with their roster. It sounds like they'll start with the return game and the wide receiver depth chart.

UPDATE: The Patriots announced Thursday night that Washington had agreed to a one-year contract.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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