Two days before their regular season finale, the New England Patriots have started to fill the open spots on their 53-man roster. Following a series of previous transactions, the team had three of those and one will go to a cornerback: as first reported by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, New England is expected to sign Dee Virgin to its active squad.
Virgin already visited the Patriots earlier this week to undergo Covid-19 testing and a subsequent free agency workout. Apparently, the team liked what it saw.
The West Alabama product — the same school that produced former Patriots Pro Bowler Malcolm Butler — originally entered the NFL in 2017 as an undrafted rookie signing by the Houston Texans. Virgin then spent his entire rookie season on the team’s practice squad before being let go as part of 2018 roster cutdown day. It did not take long for him to find a new home, though, as he was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions.
Virgin spent the next three seasons in Detroit and appeared in 21 regular season games along the way. Playing primarily on special teams — all but two of his 449 career snaps so far have come in the kicking game — he registered 12 tackles as well as a forced fumble. Despite his solid production, however, he was let go by the Lions earlier this month. Following a one-week stint on the Los Angeles Rams’ practice squad, he entered the open market again.
Now, the 27-year-old has found a new home on a team that has sufficient talent both in the secondary and the kicking game. However, with the Patriots’ season soon coming to an end, Virgin gives them some more depth at those two spots heading into their roster construction for 2021.
Before that, New England will take on the New York Jets on Sunday. Don’t count on Virgin to participate in that game, though, considering that he has virtually no experience in the system.
In another move, the Patriots are also expected to lose one of their players. Linebacker Jack Cichy, who arrived as a waiver claim from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in early December and has since found his way onto New England’s practice squad, will re-join his former team’s active roster. Cichy has 15 in-game appearances on his three-year NFL résumé, but none as a member of the Patriots.