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    Patriots Sign Former First-Rounder and Heisman Finalist


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    Jabrill Peppers

    The New England Patriots have signed former Cleveland Browns and New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers to a one-year deal, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Mike Reiss.

    Peppers visited the Patriots earlier in the week and it appears things went well with the meeting and Peppers is scheduled to join New England’s secondary.

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    Peppers is primarily a strong safety, but he offers a great deal of versatility because of his physicality, and the ability to play in the box. There are some Patrick-Chung qualities to his game, which is likely part of the reason the Patriots were interested.

    Peppers’ knee injury does bring some cause for concern, but because he is expected to be ready for training camp, some of the worry has likely been eased.

    A torn ACL isn’t the career death sentence that it used to be 25 years ago.


    Reaction to the Peppers’ Signing

    Members of the media hit Twitter with reactions to the signing of Peppers.

    NBC Sports’ Phil A. Perry noted the Peppers’ signing has some connections to members of the team’s front office–specifically Eliot Wolfe.

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    In addition to Peppers being linked to Wolfe and the Browns, more recently, the 26-year-old played for now-former New York Giants head coach, and current Patriots assistant Joe Judge. That level of familiarity on two levels of leadership with the Patriots organization had to aid in making this union possible.

    ESPN’s Field Yates offered some details on the length and money involved with Peppers’ deal.

    The modest and short-term deal fits in with what has been the Patriots’ M.O. this offseason. The team is clearly looking to sign a group of free agents on prove-it deals with little long-term or high-dollar investments.

    Ideally, the Patriots will be able to remain competitive boosted by the high-level performances from veterans who have a ton to prove, and what the team hopes will be a combination of a fruitful draft class and breakout performances from some young players who are in their second and third years in the NFL.

    USA Today’s Henry McKenna likes what the Patriots are building in the way of slot defenders, but correctly identifies the team’s potential issues covering wide receivers on the outside.

    It seems a bit late in free agency to acquire a free agent capable of locking down high-level receivers. Thus, the NFL Draft in April has to be the spot where New England finds what it is lacking in that area of the secondary.

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    What Peppers’ Addition Means For the Patriots’ Secondary

    Peppers gives the Patriots admirable depth in the box and in those hybrid DB-LB roles that Bill Belichick traditionally loves. They would appear to be reinforced in a way that protects them from injury.

    Coming off a torn ACL, Peppers is in a position to deliver an inspiring performance in 2022. His athleticism and strength might also help to take some pressure off a linebacker group that has struggled to cover over the middle, and to contain mobile quarterbacks.

    We might see some lineups with Pepper and Phillips on the field if Belichick believes both men are capable of shedding blocks and remaining effective against the run. Needless to say, this addition is one of the rare plus-stories to come out of New England’s very mild offseason.

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