The Patriots are bringing back a familiar face, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who reports (via Twitter) that linebacker Dane Fletcher is signing a one-year contract to return to New England. Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com first noted (via Twitter) that Fletcher was in attendance for the start of the team’s OTAs today.
Fletcher, 28, spent four years with the Pats before signing with the Buccaneers as a free agent a year ago. Appearing in all 16 games for Tampa Bay, Fletcher recorded 41 tackles and 0.5 sacks in 2014. While the linebacker logged 358 defensive snaps, he also contributed significantly on special teams, racking up 11 of his tackles in kick and punt coverage.
Reiss reported earlier this month, after Fletcher paid a visit to the Patriots, that there was a “good chance” the former Buc would end up signing with New England. By waiting until after May 12 to complete a deal, the Pats will ensure that Fletcher doesn’t count against their compensatory draft pick formula for 2016.