Patriots Sign Veteran Safety, Have One Open Spot On 90-Man Roster

Colbert played for Joe Judge in New York and Brian Flores in Miami

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The New England Patriots added some depth to their secondary Thursday.

Veteran safety Adrian Colbert signed with the Patriots as a free agent, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The terms of his contract were not reported.

Colbert has played under former Patriots assistants in each of the last two seasons, suiting up for Joe Judge’s New York Giants in 2020 and Brian Flores’ Miami Dolphins in 2019. He spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, who drafted him in the seventh round out of Miami, and also has logged brief stints with the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs.

The 27-year-old Colbert appeared in 14 games (six starts) for San Francisco as a rookie but has not played in more than seven games in any of the last three seasons. Injuries limited him to six appearances for the Giants in 2020.

The majority of Colbert’s NFL snaps have come as a deep safety. The Patriots lacked depth at that spot behind longtime starter Devin McCourty.

49ers fans nicknamed Colbert “The Punisher” for his hard-hitting style.

“It’s my thing,” he told reporters in 2017, via The Athletic. “It’s me. I’m not just coming in to make a normal tackle. I’m not trying to just get you down. I’m trying to punish you. I’m trying to impose my will on you. I’m trying to make people scared to come over the middle of the field.”

Signing Colbert brings the Patriots’ roster total to 90 players, including fullback Jakob Johnson, who received an International Pathway exemption and currently does not occupy a spot on the team’s 90-man roster. Another spot will become available once safety Patrick Chung’s retirement is officially processed.

The Patriots currently are in Phase 2 of their offseason program. They’re scheduled to begin organized team activities next week.

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