FRIDAY, 4:00pm: The Patriots have announced the signing of Long, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets.
WEDNESDAY, 5:23pm: Long will get $2MM on his one-year deal, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
TUESDAY, 8:21pm: The Patriots will sign Chris Long, according to Trey Wingo of ESPN (on Twitter). Long will now join a defensive line that has been weakened by today’s trade of Chandler Jones to the Cardinals. It’s a one-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
The Rams cut Long on February 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 since hitting the open market, Long has indicated that his priority would be to link up 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.
From 2010 to 2013 – his last four healthy seasons – Long totaled 41.5 sacks, an average of more than 10 per year. Considering he’ll turn 31 in a few weeks, though, and is coming off two seasons in which he totaled just four sacks, his earning potential was somewhat limited.
For comparison, Jones appeared in 15 games for the Patriots last year, totaling 44 tackles to go along with a career-high 12.5 sacks. The former first-round pick also added four forced fumbles, two passes defended, and his first career interception, earning a Pro Bowl spot for the first time. Needless to say, the Pats are badly in need of Long’s help on the D-Line if they hope to offer a tough defense in 2016.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.