The New England Patriots are eyeing an intriguing potential addition to their defensive backfield.
Free agent safety Jabrill Peppers is set to visit the Patriots on Monday, according to a report from ESPN’s Field Yates.
Peppers, a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2017, is a logical Patriots target. The 26-year-old spent the last two seasons playing for current New England assistant Joe Judge with the New York Giants. He also played for a college program (Michigan) that’s produced four Patriots draft picks over the last three years and is known for his versatility — an asset New England covets.
In an injury-shortened 2021 season, the 5-foot-11, 213-pound Peppers played 107 snaps in the slot, 60 in the box, 32 on the defensive line, 19 as a wide cornerback and 11 at free safety, per Pro Football Focus. In 2020, he played 383 snaps in the box, 264 in the slot, 143 at free safety, 77 on the D-line and 44 as a wide corner.
Peppers’ first season with Judge in New York was the most productive of his NFL career: 91 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, eight tackles for loss, one interception, 11 passes defended. He struggled in coverage that season, however, allowing the fourth-most receiving yards of any NFL safety, per PFF. A torn ACL ended his 2021 campaign in Week 7.
If signed, Peppers would give the Patriots another multitalented safety to pair with Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips and the recently re-signed Devin McCourty.
Peppers also is an experienced punt and kick returner, with 117 career returns across the two disciplines. The Patriots lost their primary punt returner when 2020 All-Pro Gunner Olszewski signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency.