BOSTON (CBS) — While they’ve taken a back seat and let other teams shell out some big bucks, the Patriots are expected to bring back one of their own when free agency officially begins Wednesday afternoon.
The defending Super Bowl champs are reportedly finalizing a deal with defensive end John Simon, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. Simon signed with the Patriots early last season after he was released by the Indianapolis Colts, and racked up a pair of sacks and 17 combined tackles over 11 regular season games. He was also credited with a half-sack in New England’s AFC Championship Game victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Simon had a steady season after joining the Patriots and should be a good depth piece for the line going forward. He joins Michael Bennett, Adrian Clayborn, Deatrich Wise Jr., Keionta Davis, Ufomba Kamula, Trent Harris and Derek Rivers on the current depth chart, which should grow as the Patriots look to replace Trey Flowers.
With Flowers agreeing to a big-money deal with Detroit earlier this week, the Patriots still have a big void to fill along their defensive front. If they can’t address the need in free agency, expect it to be a big focus for them at next month’s NFL Draft.
While the legal tampering window opened on Monday, players cannot officially sign with teams until NFL free agency begins at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.