The New England Patriots have lost four free agents so far, but it looks as if they have made their first move to bring one of their players back: according to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the world champions and defensive edge John Simon are currently working on a deal that will be finalized later today.
The Patriots picked Simon up on a one-year deal to bolster their defensive edge a month after the veteran got released by the Indianapolis Colts — a move that worked out well for both parties: the sixth-year veteran received regular playing time as a rotational option alongside Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Adrian Clayborn, and proved to be a solid addition to New England’s defense in a limited role.
Even though his stat-line is nothing to write home about, Simon was a valuable in-season addition for the Patriots: he finished the year with 21.9% defensive snaps played and 19.6% played on special teams snaps, and registered 21 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks and 4 quarterback hits in 14 in-game appearances for the world champions. Furthermore, he gave the Patriots additional flexibility to mix and match their edge defenders.
Re-signing him is a good move for a team that will lose Trey Flowers to the Detroit Lions. While the defensive edge still remains an area that likely will be addressed, retaining Simon brings some stability to a group that now contains of the following players:
Deatrich Wise Jr.
As things stand right now, Wise Jr, Bennett, Clayborn and Simon are the top four options at the edge, with Rivers, Davis, Kamalu and Harris fighting for spots alongside them.
[UPDATE] The contract has been finalized and is expected to be for two years, per Adam Kaplan.
[UPDATE] The contract is for 2-years, $7.2 million, per ProJo’s Mark Daniels. That’s extremely team-friendly for the Patriots.