Patriots Sign Veteran Linebacker For Special Teams Help

Reynolds spent last season with Atlanta

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Add another name to the New England Patriots’ list of free agent signings.

Veteran linebacker LaRoy Reynolds signed with the Patriots on Wednesday. Reynolds broke the news himself, posting a photo on his Instagram page.

The 30-year-old Reynolds is experienced and well-traveled, appearing in 115 games for five franchises since he entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He’s unlikely to help the Patriots much defensively — he hasn’t played more than 4 percent of his team’s defensive snaps since 2016 and never has played more than 12 percent — but should be a core special teamer if he cracks the 53-man roster.

Reynolds has played more than 240 special teams snaps in six of the last seven seasons, only failing to hit that mark when injuries limited him to nine games in 2016. He appeared in all 16 games for the Atlanta Falcons last season, playing 275 snaps in the kicking game (61 percent) and 40 on defense (4 percent).

The Patriots boasted the NFL’s best special teams in 2020, leading the NFL in both Football Outsiders’ special teams DVOA and Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings. They re-signed kick/punt coverage standouts Justin Bethel and Cody Davis earlier this month and are expected to get kicking game mainstay Brandon Bolden back from his COVID-19 opt-out.

Outside linebacker John Simon, who ranked second among Patriots front-seven defenders in special teams snaps last season behind Chase Winovich, is an unrestricted free agent. So is Shilique Calhoun, a core special teamer when healthy.

Reynolds is the 13th external free agent to sign with New England this offseason, joining linebackers Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy and Raekwon McMillan; defensive linemen Davon Godchaux, Henry Anderson and Montravius Adams; defensive back Jalen Mills; tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne; and center/guard Ted Karras.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
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