Could the Matthew Slater era really be ending in New England? It’s looking more and more like that could be the case as the Patriots look at veteran special teams players who potentially could replace the team captain.
The Patriots have shown interest in signing former Buffalo Bills special teams ace Marcus Easley, league sources told the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson. The Patriots traded for wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson on Sunday night. Patterson and Easley both have experience playing Slater’s gunner role on the punt team.
Slater, an unrestricted free agent, reportedly visited the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.
Easley has sat out the last two seasons after dislocating his kneecap and breaking his knee in three places in 2015. The 30-year-old has 50 career tackles since being selected by the Bills in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Connecticut. Easley led the NFL in special teams tackles with 22 in 2013.
Easley, who’s 6-foot-2, 217 pounds, has three career receptions for 71 yards. He also has seven career kick returns for 171 yards.
Easley tore up the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine, running a 4.46-second 40-yard dash with a 6.94-second 3-cone, 34-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 3-inch broad jump. The Patriots might need to determine he still has the same athleticism after his knee injury before signing him.