It took the Patriots less than two hours Monday to address two of their most glaring roster needs.
After agreeing to terms with tight end Jonnu Smith on a four-year, $50 million contract, the Patriots scooped up defensive tackle Davon Godchaux on a two-year deal worth up to $16 million, Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for both players, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Godchaux’s contract reportedly includes $9 million guaranteed.
The Patriots know Godchaux well. The 26-year-old spent his the last four seasons with the AFC East rival Miami Dolphins, who drafted him in the fifth round out of LSU in 2017. Listed at 6-foot-3, 311 pounds, he posted career highs in tackles (75), sacks (two) and quarterback hits (seven) in 2019 before missing 11 games with a biceps injury in 2020.
Godchaux expressed his excitement on Twitter after news of his pact broke. He cannot officially sign with the Patriots until the NFL league year opens at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
The Patriots were uncharacteristically flimsy along the defensive line in 2020, struggling mightily against the run. New England ranked 20th in yards allowed per carry, 26th in rushing yards allowed per game and 32nd in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA. It allowed 150-plus rushing yards in five games — and lost all five.
Godchaux led the NFL with 32 run stops in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus. He’ll join a depleted depth chart that currently features Beau Allen (who missed all of last season with an injury), Byron Cowart, Bill Murray, Nick Thuman, Akeem Spence and Michael Barnett.
The ex-Dolphin’s arrival should provide a boost to this position group, but with Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler and defensive end Deatrich Wise all set to hit unrestricted free agency Wednesday, some significant questions remain.