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NFL free agency 2023: Patriots sign linebacker/special teamer Chris Board to reported 2-year contract

New England is adding to its linebacker and special teams depth.

Detroit Lions v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Coming off what was a disappointing season for their kicking game units, the New England Patriots have now signed arguably the top special teamer available on the open market. Linebacker Chris Board will be joining the club on a two-year contract with a maximum value of $6.7 million, as first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Board, 27, originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State in 2018. He started his career with the Baltimore Ravens, for whom he appeared in 67 regular season and playoff games over a four-year span.

While Board started off primarily as a special teamer, his defensive usage increased each season in Baltimore — going from 1 percent of snaps as a rookie to 31 percent in his final year. In 2022, left the Ravens to sign a one-year, $2 million pact with the Detroit Lions.

Serving as a part-time off-the-ball linebacker and five-unit special teamer, he added 17 more games to his career résumé. Board finished his only season in Detroit ranking first on the team in special teams snaps (359; 79.6%), and second in tackles (10). Additionally, he had 11 tackles and a forced fumble in 160 defensive snaps (14.1%).

Now in New England, Board is projected to help a kicking game group that surrendered three kickoff return touchdowns in 2022. He also offers depth at a linebacker position led by Ja’Whaun Bentley, Jahlani Tavai and recently re-signed Raekwon McMillan and Mack Wilson.


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