BOSTON (CBS) — Drafting a pass rusher was thought to be on the Patriots’ to-do list heading into the draft. As it turns out, Bill Belichick got it done a little bit earlier.

The Patriots agreed to a deal with veteran defensive end Will Smith on Monday, the team announced. The news was first reported by  ESPN’s Mike Reiss and Field Yates.

Smith, who will turn 33 in July, has spent his first nine years in the NFL as a member of the New Orleans Saints.

With New Orleans, he’s made 67.5 sacks in 139 career games, peaking with 13 sacks in 2009.

Smith has averaged 6 sacks per season in the three years that followed, recording 58 total tackles in 2012.

He suffered a knee injury during the 2013 preseason, and as a result, he missed the entire year.

In eight career playoff games, Smith has 24 tackles but zero sacks.

At 6-foot-3, 282 pounds, Smith is likely to join a pass-rushing force that includes Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. Jones was on the field for 98 percent of defensive snaps last season, while Ninkovich took 95 percent. The addition of Smith is likely to create a rotation that will lead to fresher legs on the outside.

Patriots fans may particularly remember Smith for his big hit on Tom Brady during the 2012 preseason, a play that led to a fumble from the quarterback.



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