The New England Patriots started the on-field preparation for their upcoming game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Wednesday, and they had a pair of new faces present at practice. While one remains a mystery for now, the other appears to be Brian Poole: according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Patriots have signed the veteran cornerback to their practice squad.
The move comes exactly one week after the team brought Poole in for a workout. The free agent initially left without signing a contract, though, and instead had another workout with the Houston Texans. However, it seems as if he has now returned.
An undrafted free agent out of Florida, Poole entered the league in 2016 as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. He spent three years with the team, appearing in a combined 52 regular season and playoff games; he registered four interceptions and four fumble recoveries during his time in Atlanta. In 2019, he joined the New York Jets as a free agent, adding 23 more games and three more interceptions to his résumé.
Earlier this year, Poole left New York to sign a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. However, he was moved to injured reserve in August for undisclosed reasons and eventually released earlier this month.
Primarily a slot cornerback throughout his career, Poole will help bolster a cornerback group that has had some depth issues as of late.
Not only did the Patriots trade Stephon Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers, they also had to move starting slot cornerback Jonathan Jones to injured reserve because of a season-ending shoulder issue. While J.C. Jackson and Jalen Mills are still around to man two of the starting spots, the depth alongside them lacks experience.
Joejuan Williams and Myles Bryant have yet to prove themselves as consistent rotational options; rookie Shaun Wade has never appeared in an NFL game and has missed the last three weeks with a concussion (although he did return to practice on Wednesday); Justin Bethel is primarily a special teamer
Adding an experienced player such as Poole to the equation therefore makes plenty of sense from the Patriots’ perspective.
The team will release its first injury report of the week later on Wednesday, with the second addition to the team likely also being announced soon.