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Patriots sign former Texans, Colts DE/LB John Simon, make two practice squad changes

The Patriots need help on defense.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have to make two important roster moves after placing LB Ja’Whaun Bentley and RB Rex Burkhead on the injured reserve Wednesday morning. One move was bringing back Kenjon Barner at running back.

They other is apparently signing former Colts and Texans linebacker John Simon, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss and Field Yates.

Simon has experience in a Patriots-type system after his time with the Texans and he should be able to find a role on the edge for New England. He’s not necessarily a one-for-one replacement for Bentley, who was a middle linebacker, but Simon’s presence should put either Dont’a Hightower or Kyle Van Noy in the middle of the defense.

Alternatively, Simon could be a back-up on the edge behind Hightower and Van Noy as Elandon Roberts takes on a larger role at middle linebacker.

The Patriots move to replace Burkhead was bringing back Kenjon Barner. The Patriots running back depth chart is Sony Michel, Kenjon Barner and James White. New England needed more of a grinder because Barner and White are not particularly powerful between the tackles.

The Patriots have also swapped in defensive back David Jones for wide receiver Jace Billingsley on the practice squad. Perhaps this suggests that Kenjon Barner made Billingsley redundant at practice.