With Trey Flowers off to the Detroit Lions in free agency, the New England Patriots have turned their attention toward another defensive end.
The Patriots have inquired about free-agent pass rusher Brandon Copeland, a source told NESN.com on Wednesday. Copeland, 27, had 35 tackles with five sacks, eight tackles for loss and 14 quarterback hits in 16 games with 10 starts last season for the New York Jets.
The 6-foot-3, 263-pound edge defender registered 38 total pressures last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Copeland came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013. He also spent time with the Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions.
In two seasons with the Lions, he had 19 tackles, 0.5 sack, one tackle for loss and two quarterback hits. Copeland has been a core special-teams player with the Lions and Jets.
The Patriots reportedly are bringing back edge defender John Simon and trading for defensive end Michael Bennett. They also have Deatrich Wise Jr., Adrian Clayborn, Derek Rivers, Ufomba Kamalu, Keionta Davis and Trent Harris on their defensive end depth chart.
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