By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots are kicking off their own free agency moves by bringing back a solid depth piece along the defensive line. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, they're expected to re-sign edge rusher John Simon.
Signing with the Patriots during Week 4 after the Indianapolis Colts released him as part of their Sept. 1 cuts, Simon played in 11 of the Patriots' final 13 games, including every game from Week 9 on and two starts. He made 2 sacks and 3 quarterback hits in primarily a rotational pass rushing role.
Simon's biggest play came in Super Bowl LIII against the Rams, when he broke up Jared Goff's first pass attempt of the second half on third-and-7. The Patriots defense played so well in that game, Devin McCourty likely would've had a red zone interception if Simon didn't deflect it at the line.
The Patriots shore up their pass-rushing depth with the move, as they brace for Trey Flowers to sign with the Detroit Lions. They also recently traded a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Eagles for Michael Bennett and a 2020 seventh. On the depth chart they also have Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise Jr., Keionta Davis, Adrian Clayborn, Ufomba Kamalu, and Trent Harris.
New England's free-agent outlook will continue to take shape after 4.p.m. Wednesday, when NFL free agency and the 2019 league year officially begin.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].