The New England Patriots continue to make moves and poach players from the Chicago Bears. After acquiring guard Ryan Groy in the 2014 offseason, and then linebacker Jonathan Bostic in the middle of the 2014, and then acquiring tight end Martellus Bennett, like, 15 minutes ago, Bill Belichick and company are going back to the same well.
The Patriots have signed linebacker Shea McClellin to a 3-year deal, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
McClellin was the Bears 1st round pick in 2012 and was an actual target for the Patriots in the 1st round if Chandler Jones hadn't fallen into the 20s. He is a former defensive end that converted to 3-4 outside linebacker, and then moved again to inside linebacker this past season.
Belichick values versatility and McClellin offers it in spades. While he's not great at any position, he offers fantastic depth- similar to Akeem Ayers- and can likely move ahead of Jonathan Freeny in the depth chart. He also plays special teams. We labeled McClellin as one of the top free agent linebacker targets for the Patriots.
The Patriots need insurance in case they are unable to retain both Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, who are entering the final seasons of their contracts. A 3-year deal implies that McClellin is a part of the team's roster plan. Linebacker is no longer a need moving into the draft.
The current depth chart is:
LB1: Dont'a Hightower - Shea McClellin - Ramon Humber
LB2: Jamie Collins - Jonathan Freeny - Jonathan Bostic