The New England Patriots, who will be off until training camp starts in late July, currently have 90 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on August 31 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the summer, we will take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots defend their Super Bowl title.
Today, the series continues with one of New England’s offseason acquisitions.
Name: Terrence Brooks
Position: Free safety/Special teamer
Jersey number: 25
Size: 5’11, 200 lbs.
2018 review: Coming off a solid first season with the New York Jets, Terrence Brooks received a two-year, $4.0 million contract by the team on the first year of 2018’s free agency period. New deal in hand, his role with the Jets remained unchanged: the former third-round draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens was a core special teamer for Gang Green, while simultaneously offering rotational depth in the defensive backfield.
Brooks appeared in all sixteen of New York’s games during the 2018 season and led the team in kicking game snaps with 392 (of 496; 79.0%). A reliable and durable presence in this phase of the game, the veteran finished third on the Jets with a combined six special teams tackles, while also adding a fumble recovery in week fourteen against the Buffalo Bills. All in all, Brooks was a key part on one of the NFL’s best kicking game units.
His defensive contributions were comparatively few, however. Playing just 69 of 1,120 possible snaps (6.2%) — all between weeks six and seven, when nominal starting free safety Marcus Maye was limited due to injury — Brooks finished the year with four tackles as well as one pass deflection. And while he did offer valuable depth at the Jets’ safety position, the numbers show that his main role was limited to special teams.
2019 preview: Despite Brooks’ solid two seasons since acquiring him via trade, the Jets opted not to pick up the option that would trigger the second year of his contract. As a result, the 27-year-old hit free agency for the first time in his career. It was a short experience for Brooks, however, as he signed a two-year, $4.0 million deal with New York’s number one rivals — the Patriots — just one day after the market opened.
In New England, Brooks is projected to play a similar role like the one he held in New York: he will primarily line up on special teams and bring veteran experience as well as consistency to a unit that lacked just that during the early portions of the 2018 season. As such, he should be expected to see considerable playing time alongside returning core special teamers Matthew Slater, Nate Ebner and Brandon King.
And while his defensive playing time will probably be limited to rotational duty yet again, Brooks should be considered a lock to make the Patriots’ 2019 roster. After all, the team gave him $1.3 million in guarantees upon signing his contract. The number indicates that New England plans on having the former journeyman play a prominent role in the kicking game, and — who knows? — maybe on defense as well. Training camp and the preseason will provide an answer to that question.