The New England Patriots have a hole on their roster at defensive tackle with two key players hitting free agency. Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton, two players partially responsible for the defense’s resurgent run defense in the playoffs, are likely to test the market.
Per the Globe’s Nora Princiotti, the Patriots “haven’t talked about a possible return” for Brown, even though Brown wants to stay in New England. Brown is well-respected by many players in the locker room and will likely test the market to set his value before getting an offer from the Patriots.
Patriots and free agent DT Malcom Brown haven’t talked about a possible return so far, per source. Brown would like to stay in New England but understands there may be more $ elsewhere.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) March 1, 2019
Shelton, on the other hand, is behind Brown in the pecking order, per NESN’s Doug Kyed. If the Patriots are unable to retain Brown, then they might be interested in bringing Shelton back for another season.
Despite being a healthy scratch for stretches this season, FA DT Danny Shelton still could return to the Patriots, per source. Depends heavily on what the Patriots do with FA DT Malcom Brown.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) March 1, 2019
The Patriots currently have Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler at defensive tackle, so they’ll definitely have to make some additions at the position. Bringing back a key player like Brown, who still has a lot of promise despite a weak 2018 season, or retaining Shelton would go a long way to solidifying the position.