Ahead of the official start of NFL free agency March 13, we’re taking a player-by-player look at the Patriots’ 2019 free agent class.
Up next: defensive end/linebacker John Simon.
2018 stats: 17 tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, three QB hits in 11 games
Potential competition: any team looking for veteran depth on the edge
Projected contract: two years, $4 million
Priority to re-sign: Moderate
Simon wouldn’t be considered one of the stars of the Patriots’ 2018 defense, but he played an important role in that group as a sub rusher and reserve linebacker after signing with the team in late September.
Playing both on and off the line, Simon was a staple in New England’s “amoeba” package, which gave opponents fits on third downs. The 28-year-old saw his role expand in the playoffs, logging 40 defensive snaps in the divisional round and 31 in the AFC Championship Game.
He tallied a tackle for loss against the Los Angeles Chargers, shared a sack of Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City and then broke up a Jared Goff pass in Super Bowl LIII. The championship was a career first for the journeyman, who previously spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts.
Re-signing a versatile defender like Simon would be a smart and affordable move for New England, and according to the player himself, there’s a good chance he’ll be back in a Patriots uniform next season.
“There’s been some talks, and things look promising,” Simon told ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss last week. “I’m not going to comment on a lot of that stuff right now, but I enjoyed my time playing for Bill (Belichick). I think he’s a great coach and I’d definitely love to play for him again.”