FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots’ roster has undergone a surprisingly significant overhaul this offseason, with only a few position groups making it through the last month without at least one alteration.
One of those positions is safety. After re-signing Duron Harmon to a four-year, $17 million contract, the Patriots have all five of their 2016 safeties (Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Harmon, Nate Ebner and Jordan Richards) under contract for the upcoming season.
Speaking with reporters Thursday at Gillette Stadium, Chung said he’s pleased his unit has remained intact.
“I’m glad,” Chung said. “I’m happy for it, man. These are the guys I see every single day and I talk to. I just talked to Jordan today. It’s good. We’ve got a squad. Those are my brothers right there.”
That brotherhood inspired the T-shirt Chung wore during his chat with the assembled media members. He credited Patriots coach Steve Belichick for the design, which dubbed the group the “Safety Squadron.”
“I like it,” Chung said. “It’s dope. You see Dev (McCourty), the pilot. I’ve got the guns, though.”
Though the Patriots’ depth chart at safety hasn’t changed this spring, the same can’t be said about the rest of the secondary. New England saw plenty of turnover at the cornerback position, signing former Buffalo Bill Stephon Gilmore and letting Logan Ryan walk in free agency.
“Bill wouldn’t bring anyone in here who’s not going to help us,” Chung said of Gilmore. “He’s a good player. We play him twice a year every year. He’s a good player. It’s good to have him on our team, and hopefully he can bring some good to our team.”
Malcolm Butler’s future also remains uncertain, as the restricted free agent cornerback has yet to sign his first-round tender. Chung said he hasn’t discussed the situation with Butler, who earned second-team All-Pro honors this past season.
“I haven’t talked to him,” Chung said. “It’s not really any of my business. That’s between him and the organization. But whatever he has to do to be happy, whatever we’ve got to do to be happy, whatever (Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s) decision is, whatever (Butler’s) decision is, I’m going to support it. It is what it is.”
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images