MONDAY, 11:57am: Long is expected to visit three teams this week – including the Patriots and Cowboys – before regrouping to weigh his options and make a decision, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
SUNDAY, 10:01pm: The Patriots haven’t added any big names this offseason, but that might change soon. Free agent defensive end Chris Long will visit the team and hold a workout Monday, ESPN’s Trey Wingo reports (on Twitter).
Long’s previous team, the Rams, cut him Feb. 19 after he endured back-to-back injury-plagued seasons. The soon-to-be 31-year-old suited up for just 18 of 32 regular-season games during that span, but he’s reportedly “100% healthy” and says that he only wants to sign with a Super Bowl contender. The Patriots certainly fit the bill in that respect, and they have a connection to Long in in defensive assistant Brendan Daly, who was the D-line coach in St. Louis from 2009-11 (Twitter link via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com). Further, the Pats lost a talented defensive lineman Sunday when Akiem Hicks agreed to a deal with the Bears.
Unlike Hicks, Long has been a pass-rushing force at his best. The former second overall pick added 41.5 sacks from 2010-13, including a career-high 13 in 2011, before dropping to a combined four over the past two years. In New England, the eight-year veteran would further beef up a pass rush that already features Chandler Jones, Jabaal Sheard and Rob Ninkovich coming off the edges. The Patriots finished last season with the second-most sacks in the NFL (49).
Since his Rams tenure ended, Long has visited with Washington and the Falcons. He also has a meeting with the Cowboys scheduled for the upcoming week.
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