Pats continue busy offseason
By Peter Santo
Patriots nation was shocked on Monday with the announcement that sack leader Chandler Jones had been traded to the Arizona Cardinals. However Bill Belichick hasn’t wasted any time rebuilding his defense as well as bolstering Tom Brady’s receiving corps.
The Patriots found Jones’ replacement by signing veteran defensive lineman Chris Long, added to their linebacking corps by signing Shea McClellin, and acquired Tight End Martellus Bennett from the Bears in exchange for a fourth round draft pick.
The Long signing is a low risk, high upside move. His contract is a one year deal with very little guaranteed money. The eight year veteran posted 54.5 sacks in eight seasons with the Rams. Long will slide onto a defensive line that includes pass rushers Rob Ninkovich and Jabaal Sheard.
The Patriots signed McClellin to a three year deal. Needing a third option at linebacker behind Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins following the sudden retirement of Jerod Mayo, McClellin figures to slide into that spot perfectly.
McClellin posted 98 tackles and 7.5 sacks in four seasons with the Chicago Bears. McClellin has also proven himself to be durable, starting double digit games in each of the last three seasons.
Bennett gives the Patriots a formidable Tight End behind Rob Gronkowski and will allow the Patriots to running the two tight end set they were comfortable with a few years ago. The Patriots haven’t had this much talent at Tight End since Aaron Hernandez was living a double life with the Pats.
Bennett will look to return to form catching passes from Tom Brady after a down year in 2015 in which he had just 439 receiving yards in 11 games.
All in all, the Patriots have recovered well from the loss of Chandler Jones, making a bunch of low risk, high upside moves that will have the Patriots set to make another Super Bowl run next season.