The New England Patriots front office is busy these days. On Monday, the team signed linebacker Ufomba Kamalu to the practice squad while bringing linebacker Albert McClellan in for a free agency visit. On Tuesday, the Patriots made a total of six transactions including signing McClellan and former second-round draft pick Obi Melifonwu. It now appears as if they were ready to make another move as well.
According to the man himself, the Patriots made an offer to free agent defensive edge Bruce Irvin. “This was a dream [come] true,” Irvin told ESPN Atlanta’s Vaughn McClure after the veteran signed a one-year contract with his hometown Atlanta Falcons. “The Patriots and [Pittsburgh] Steelers offered more money, but being able to play for my city and my people, you just can’t put a price on that.”
Irvin would have been an intriguing addition to a Patriots team that currently operates on $4.79 million of salary cap space. The 31-year old, who spent the first four years of his career with the Seattle Seahawks before joining the Oakland Raiders in 2016, is an experienced and proven option at the defensive edge. Before the Raiders released him last week, he played almost half of the team’s defensive snaps and registered 3.0 sacks.
While New England had a very good pass rushing performance on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, the team has generally been inconsistent when it comes to putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. While Irvin would not have been the lone fix to this, his presence alongside Trey Flowers, Adrian Clayborn and Deatrich Wise Jr. as well as reserves Derek Rivers and Keionta Davis would have given the team more flexibility.
With Irvin opting to return home instead of moving to New England, however, the team will have to rely on the five players listed above — plus versatile linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy — to rush the passer moving forward. By no means is this a bad group of players, but one that has had its struggles especially early during the season.