When free agency came to an end in early May, only a handful of players to finish the 2018 season on the New England Patriots’ 53-man roster were still left unaccounted for. One of the six men remaining on the open market was Albert McClellan: the veteran would remain unsigned until this weekend, when the New York Jets brought him on board to add depth after the team lost starting linebacker Avery Williams to a season-ending injury.
McClellan originally joined the Patriots one week after the Baltimore Ravens released the core special teamer and rotational linebacker midway through his ninth season with the club. New England signed him to bolster a special teams coverage unit that had been inconsistent up until that point — a move that paid off quickly from the organizations’s perspective as McClellan proved his value in the kicking game right away.
In only his third game for New England, McClellan became the first player in fifteen years to block two punts in one game — his biggest performance of the year, but far from the only positive impact he had. Despite his limited defensive contributions as the fourth linebacker behind Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts, McClellan was a valuable member of the Patriots’ championship roster as a member of all four kickoff and punt units.
All in all, he appeared in ten games for the club — seven during the regular season plus all three in the playoffs — and was on the field for 64.6% of special teams snaps and 1.5% on defense. Despite his success in the kicking game, however, the now-33-year-old was not re-signed by New England entering free agency. Instead, he has now joined one of the Patriots’ division rivals and if he makes the team will face his ex-club twice this year.
McClellan, who joins fellow ex-Patriots Harvey Langi and Darryl Roberts in New York, will not count towards the compensatory draft picks formula: with free agency already closed, New England will not gain anything from the Jets picking him up. However, the team is already expected to be awarded the maximum four additional draft picks anyway after losing Trey Flowers, Trent Brown, Malcom Brown and Cordarrelle Patterson earlier this offseason.