With opening day still three months away and the mandatory portion of the initial wave of offseason workouts over, we have entered the more quiet parts of the NFL offseason. However, while the football world seemingly turns slower these days it does not stop.
During workouts and studying sessions, players still have a chance to lay the foundation for their spots on the team. Over the course of the next few months, we will take a look at the men fighting for them on the 2017 New England Patriots. 53 of currently 90 players will be asked to help the team defend its Super Bowl title.
Today, we will continue the series with one of New England’s depth linebackers.
Name: Trevor Bates
Jersey number: 44
Opening day age: 24
Size: 6’2, 250 lbs.
2016 review: In the final round of the 2016 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected linebacker Trevor Bates. Despite joining a defense lacking depth and talent, the Maine product was unable to secure a roster spot over the course of the summer and was released during final cuts. He was, however, signed to the Colts’ practice squad the next day.
Bates spent the first four weeks of his rookie campaign on the practice squad but was promoted to Indianapolis’ active roster prior to the team’s week five game against the Chicago Bears. He actually was a game day active against the Bears and played 22 snaps on special teams. He did not register any statistics and was released four days after his NFL debut.
Following his release, Bates remained unsigned until almost a month later: On November 7, the Patriots signed him to their practice squad. He spent the rest of his rookie year there – earning practice player of the week honors three times – and won a Super Bowl ring with the team.
2017 preview: Following the conclusion of the 2016 season, New England signed Trevor Bates to a one-year futures contract. The deal, which is scheduled to pay him a non-guaranteed $465,000, gives him a shot to earn one of the backup linebacker spots on the team. However, he appears to face a tough battle to actually get one.
Bates has been noted as a smart and instinctive player; one that is also able to play multiple spots along the front seven and might be able to get a depth role on the Patriots’ roster. The recent signing of veteran David Harris hurts his chances, though, as Bates now has another competitor for the fifth or possibly sixth linebacker spot. It would therefore not be a surprise to see him get lost in the numbers game.
But even if that happens, the soon-to-be 24-year old is still a candidate to stick around in Foxboro. After all, he still offers a versatile skill set that might get further refined with another year on the practice squad. Seeing Bates join the 10-player strong unit this fall would therefore not be a surprise.