Patriots maintain depth and continuity on defensive interior with return of DT Danny Shelton
By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots announced on Monday that they have re-signed defensive tackle Danny Shelton. Terms of the deal have yet to be announced, but it’s reasonable to expect that it’s an affordable one-year deal.
Shelton played 13 games for the Patriots in 2018, starting one of them. As a run-stuffing presence on the defensive interior, the results weren’t always there for the ex-Browns DT. It led to just nine snaps in Week 11 against the Jets and three straight healthy scratches from Weeks 12-14.
But that move turned out to be one of many masterstrokes for head coach Bill Belichick during the season. Shelton played better from there on out, appearing in two of three playoff games. Shelton missed the AFC Championship Game as the Patriots emphasized speed and pass-rushing on defense. But he saved his best performance for last.
Shelton logged two tackles in Super Bowl LIII, and notably made one of them for a three-yard loss on Rams running back C.J. Anderson. The play forced a third-and-10 that led to one of nine Los Angeles punts. For a rotational run-stuffer playing 16 snaps, that’s a significant Super Bowl contribution.
I give Shelton a decent chance to make the 53-man roster once again. That positional group should largely be intact from 2018. Free-agent addition Mike Pennel should replace the departed Malcom Brown, while Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler will also be back. Shelton may be competing with fifth-round rookie Byron Cowart out of Maryland for a roster spot.
A minor move in the grand scheme, but some welcome depth and continuity in the middle of the defense.
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@example.com.