The Patriots have signed former Carolina and Chicago linebacker James Anderson to a contract, according to Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com (via Twitter). To clear a spot on the roster for Anderson, the team has parted ways with wide receiver Mark Harrison.
Anderson, 30, was one of the more notable veteran linebackers still on the market, having started all 16 games last season for the Bears. While Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required) ranked Anderson 33rd out of 35 qualified 4-3 outside linebackers, his poor grade was due in large part to subpar performance against the run — he was one of the league’s more effective linebackers in pass coverage. The former third-round pick also accumulated 102 tackles and four quarterback sacks.
Because he’s being signed after June 1, Anderson is no longer linked to the compensatory draft pick formula that determines which teams are rewarded with extra 2015 picks for losing more free agents than they signed. The veteran linebacker had worked out for the Pats last month, so the club may have been biding its time until June to officially lock him up.