FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick said that one player couldn’t replace Jerod Mayo, so the New England Patriots added two linebackers before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
The Patriots are finalizing a trade for Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jonathan Casillas, a source told NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. The Patriots sent a fifth-round draft pick to the Buccaneers in exchange for Casillas and a sixth-round pick, The Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman reported. Casillas’ agent, Blake Baratz, tweeted about the deal.
The Patriots traded a sixth round draft pick to the Tennessee Titans last week for linebacker Akeem Ayers, who played Sunday in New England’s 51-23 win over the Chicago Bears.
The 6-foot-1, 227-pound Casillas has spent the last two seasons with the Buccaneers after being signed by the New Orleans Saints out of Wisconsin as an undrafted free agent in 2009. Casillas started three games at strong-side linebacker for the Buccaneers this season, recording nine tackles.
Casillas has 138 career tackles, nine passes defended and one forced fumble. He should add depth and speed to the Patriots’ shallow linebacker depth, and he can contribute on special teams. The Patriots lacked a backup linebacker who can cover running backs and tight ends.
To make room for Casillas, the Patriots waived guard Chris Barker, a league source told ESPN’s Field Yates.
Casillas is the fourth Buccaneers player traded to the Patriots in two seasons. The Patriots previously acquired cornerback Aqib Talib, running back LeGarrette Blount and added tight end Tim Wright earlier this season. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a strong relationship with former Bucs coach Greg Schiano.
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