By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — If you can cover kicks and punts, Bill Belichick will take care of you.
Brandon King is now the latest Patriots player to learn this first-hand, as he signed a relatively large contract for a special teams-specific player on Thursday.
Clearly, despite getting virtually no playing time on the defensive side of the ball, Belichick values what King brings to the team.
Pro Football Reference lists King as having zero defensive snaps in his three NFL seasons, but his Patriots.com bio page credits him with making one defensive tackle in Buffalo during the 2016 season. That Patriots.com bio page also says this of King’s rookie season in 2015: “Was one of three rookie free agents, along [with] David Andrews and Justin Coleman, to be a major contributor on the 53-man roster.” That may be a stretch, but Belichick clearly believes in that special teams impact.
King’s most well-known play came in Week 8 of the 2017 season, when he tackled Travis Benjamin in the Los Angeles end zone for a safety to give the Patriots a 9-7 lead in the second quarter. The Patriots went on to win 21-13.
The new contract shows that the Patriots do indeed value special teamers, yet while the salary does stand out, it’s worth noting that King’s $1.18 million cap hit accounts for 0.7 percent of the team’s salary cap space in 2018. It’s not significant in that respect, but the signing — along with Brandon Bolden’s signing in late February and the expected re-signing of Matthew Slater at some point soon — is indicative of the value the Patriots place on special teams.