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Patriots Sign Defensive End Chris Long

In the aftermath of the Chandler Jones trade, the Patriots have signed a potential short-term replacement.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots left a big hole at the defensive end position after trading Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals. The first move in the immediate aftermath was signing veteran DE Chris Long from the Rams. One fun fact for you to hear about is Long's father, Howie, is a Massachusetts native. Long had a visit scheduled with the Cowboys, which now won't happen because he's taking his talents to the Northeast.

Long was the 2nd overall pick in the 2008 draft and has had a solid career with the Rams. Over 8 years with the Rams, Long has never played in a playoff game. That should change in 2016, with the Patriots having a 99.9% chance of winning their division and better than 75% chance of winning a top-2 seed in the AFC. Long figures to be part of the Patriots defensive end rotation that features Rob Ninkovich and Jabaal Sheard. The Patriots have a younger option in Trey Flowers, but it remains to be if the team believes in Flowers over the long term.

Details of the contract should come out later, the question comes down to total value since this is a one-year deal. Long hadn't missed a game in the first six games of his career, but injuries have affected his play the last two seasons. A reduction from an every down player to a rotational defensive end that can play potentially 50-65% of the snaps on the defense could reduce the chances of injuries over the course of the season and allow him to play harder on a per snap basis. This has the makings to be a very good move, although age is a concern with Long turning 31 later this month.