While free agency is slowly winding down, the New England Patriots are still busy looking at ways to improve their roster at a reasonable cost. One player they have an eye on appears to be a former first-round safety: according to a report by ESPN’s Field Yates, New England is hosting Jabrill Peppers on a free agency visit on Monday.
Peppers, 26, originally joined the NFL as the 25th overall selection in the 2017 draft. The Michigan product appeared in 29 games for the Cleveland Browns over his first two seasons in the league and established himself as a starter-level safety.
Despite his early success, he was sent to the New York Giants in 2019 as part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. Peppers spent three seasons with his new team, playing 32 total games as a Giant before a torn ACL ended his 2021 season in October. He entered free agency earlier this month and has remained unsigned since.
This, in turn, has now given the Patriots an opportunity to take a look at him. Despite the team’s depth at the safety position, the 5-foot-11, 215-pound defensive back visiting New England should not necessarily be seen as a surprise. Peppers, after all, has a natural connection to the organization via offensive assistant Joe Judge: Judge spent the last two seasons as the Giants’ head coach, getting a first-hand look at Peppers.
Whether or not the visit will lead to a signing remains to be seen, but Peppers’ potential is intriguing not just because of his first-round label. He offers impressive versatility and has lined up all over the defensive backfield over the course of his career; Peppers furthermore has plenty of experience in the kicking game.
New England is set at the top of its safety depth chart with Devin McCourty returning on a one-year contract to stay with the existing core of Adrian Phillips and Kyle Dugger. However, McCourty is on the back-nine of his career and a long-term replacement for his spot in the lineup does not yet appear to be on the roster.