The New England Patriots will lose at least one of their two free agent defensive tackles this offseason.
2015 first-round draft pick Malcom Brown is signing a three-year, $15 million contract with the New Orleans Saints, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday afternoon.
Brown played in 71 of a possible 75 games (including playoffs) during his four seasons with the Patriots, starting 61. The Patriots declined to pick up his fifth-year contract option last summer, making him an unrestricted free agent when the NFL league year opened Wednesday.
The 25-year-old Texas product finished the 2018 season with 39 tackles, one quarterback hit and one fumble recovery, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 85th-best interior defender. Brown was part of two Super Bowl-winning teams during his Patriots tenure but never quite lived up to his billing as the 32nd overall draft pick.
With only Lawrence Guy, sub rusher Adam Butler, David Parry and Frank Herron currently under contract for the 2019 season, bolstering the interior of their defensive line ranks near the top of the Patriots’ offseason to-do list. The team reportedly hosted former Kansas City Chiefs D-lineman Allen Bailey on a free agent visit Thursday.
Danny Shelton, the Patriots’ other internal free agent D-tackle, remains unsigned and would welcome a return to New England, a source told NESN.com’s Doug Kyed.
With defensive end Trey Flowers also leaving Foxboro this week to sign with the Detroit Lions, guard Shaq Mason and long snapper Joe Cardona are the only members of the Patriots’ 11-man 2015 draft class who still are with the team.
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