New England Patriots

Nov 24, 2019; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Green Bay Packers fullback Danny Vitale (45) in the game against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium. (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)

By Ty Anderson,

After a turbulent 2019 at fullback, the New England Patriots made the position one of their offseason priorities on Friday by signing Danny Vitale to a contract, according to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Terms of the deal are unknown.

A Packer for the last two seasons, Vitale appeared in 15 games with Green Bay (including four starts) in 2019, and totaled a career-high seven catches and 97 yards and rushed for three yards in his first (and only) career carry.

Vitale’s signing could be a move to avoid a repeat of last year, which ended with linebacker Elandon Roberts serving as the Patriots’ fullback following season-ending injuries to James Develin and Jakob Johnson, or it could be a rather ominous sign when it comes to Develin’s status moving forward. One of the most underrated pieces of the New England running game, Develin suffered a neck injury in a Week 2 win over the Dolphins, and was eventually ruled out for the entire season. The 24-year-old Johnson, meanwhile, replaced Develin but was placed on injured reserve a month later with a shoulder injury.

Drafted by the Buccaneers in the sixth round in 2016 after a collegiate career at Northwestern, Vitale has appeared in 44 games between the Browns and Packers in his NFL career.

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.