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Patriots fill open roster spot, re-sign safety Jordan Richards

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Look who’s back!

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the New England Patriots parted ways with reserve offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch which in turn opened up a spot on their 53-man roster. While the belief at the time was that it would be filled by tight end Benjamin Watson, who returned from a four-game suspension on Monday but opened the week on a roster exemption, the Patriots apparently had another plan in mind.

As first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, the team has re-signed safety Jordan Richards. The 26-year-old is, of course, no unfamiliar face in New England: the Patriots originally drafted Richards in the second round of the 2015 draft and quickly used him in the kicking game. He never grew into more than a special teams player, however, and was mostly disappointing when used on defense. Ultimately, the team decided to part ways with him.

Last August, finally, he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. Richards lasted one season with the Falcons before joining the Oakland Raiders during the 2019 offseason. He failed to carve out a consistent role with the Silver and Black, though, and was let go again during roster cutdowns. Since then, Richards remained on the open market which allowed the Patriots to scoop him up now.

How exactly the Patriots will use Richards in his second stint with the team remains to be seen. Given their depth in the secondary, however, it would be a surprise if he was given regular action on defense. Instead, the expectation is that he will help out on special teams as a member of kickoff and punt coverage teams — not unlike last year’s in-season additions of Albert McClellan and Ramon Humber.