At least one New England Patriots free agent plans to be back with the team next season.
Patriots fullback James Develin is expected to re-sign in the coming days, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported Thursday night.
Develin is not on the level of more high-profile Patriots free agents like Dont’a Hightower, Malcolm Butler, LeGarrette Blount and Martellus Bennett, but he was an important player for New England this season, especially after tight end Rob Gronkowski went down with a season-ending back injury.
After missing the entire 2015 season with a broken leg, Develin played in every game this season, logging a career-high 350 offensive snaps and another 151 on special teams.
“He loves to play,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Develin in December. “He’s happy to go in there. And he’s done a good job for us on the punt team, kickoff return team, been good for us in the kicking game. Very dependable player.”
Nearly two dozen Patriots players are set to hit free agency when the league year opens next Thursday.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images