The New England Patriots started Friday by locking up another member of their free agency class. Defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale has signed a new contract with the team, as first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
No terms of the deal are available at this point in time.
A former undrafted free agent out of Washington State, Ekuale started his career with the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars. He found his way to New England in 2021, joining the team via its practice squad but seeing somewhat regular opportunities via game-day elevation.
By his second year with the club, Ekuale had established himself as a valuable rotational piece along its interior defensive line. All in all, he has appeared in a combined 39 regular season and playoff games over the course of his career — 23 of them as a member of the Patriots between 2021 and 2022.
After serving a two-game suspension to open last season, Ekuale appeared in 15 games and was on the field for 364 of a possible 1,249 defensive snaps (29.1%) over that span. Serving as an interior pass rusher and backup option to sophomore Christian Barmore, he registered a pair of sacks and finished the year with 22 combined quarterback pressures — the fifth-highest such number on the team, according to Pro Football Focus.
Ekuale has now become the 12th free agent either re-signed or tendered by the Patriots this offseason. He is the second member of the defensive line to be retained after Carl Davis Jr.