The New England Patriots have a silent need at linebacker as two of their three projected starters, Jerod Mayo and Dont'a Hightower, are still recovering from last season's surgeries. It's unclear if Mayo, coming off of two consecutive season-ending injuries, will be the same as before. It's also a question of whether Hightower will be ready to play Week 1 after having surgery on his labrum.
So Bill Belichick looked at his phone book and called up an old friend: per ESPN's Field Yates, the Patriots have signed linebacker Brandon Spikes to a one-year contract.
The Patriots were interested in bringing back either Dane Fletcher or Brandon Spikes, but the signing of linebacker Dekoda Watson as a special teams linebacker reduced the potential value of Fletcher. Spikes will bring a much needed physicality to the defense, that will be missing cornerback Brandon Browner's enthusiasm. The run-stopping thumper might only be a two-down linebacker with the Patriots, but those will be two important downs.
Look for Spikes to play in the 4-3 base, while Jamie Collins will line up with the healthier of Mayo and Hightower in the 4-2-5 nickel.