New England Patriots

Jan 6, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Adrian Phillips (31) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter in a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

By Ty Anderson,

The New England Patriots are doing their best to lessen the blow of losing both Nate Ebner and Duron Harmon, and may have done exactly that with the reported signing of Pro Bowl safety Adrian Phillips to a two-year deal.

The 27-year-old Phillips is coming off a 2019 year that began with the undrafted talent as the Chargers’ starting safety, but was interrupted by a broken arm that put him on the injured reserve and saw him limited to 32 tackles in just seven games.

2018 featured the best work of the 5-foot-11 safety’s NFL career, however, with career-high marks in tackles (77), tackles for a loss (four), and passes defended (nine) in 16 games for the Chargers.

Those numbers as a do-it-all presence for the Chargers — along with Phillips’ work as L.A.’s special teams ace — propelled him to the first Pro Bowl appearance of his career. Phillips was also All-Pro First Team as a special teamer in 2018.

In New England, Phillips will surely be asked to do more of the same from 2018, especially with those aforementioned departures of both Ebner and Harmon, and with Patrick Chung looking to rebound from what was an injury-plagued 2019 season. Moving outside of the potential special teams upgrade over Ebner, age is also working in Phillips’ favor in a Phillips vs. Harmon debate, as Phillips is nearly a year and a half younger than the Patriot-turned-Lion.

Phillips has totaled 219 tackles and five interceptions in 61 career games.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.