While some teams are splurging, the Patriots are spreading the wealth. On Thursday afternoon, the Pats agreed to sign former Jets defensive lineman Mike Pennel and former Broncos tight end Matt LaCosse, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. It’s a two-year deal for Pennel, per his agent (Twitter link).
Pennel was a staple of the Jets’ defense in recent years, appearing in every game over the last two seasons. His Jets stint, which included ten starts, yielded an average of 31 tackles per season with zero sacks. His traditional stats did not jump off of the page, but the advanced metrics were very high on his work in 2018. Pennel was tied as the 14th best defensive tackle in the NFL last year, according to Pro Football Focus, though his 358 snaps were the lowest sum of anyone in the top 40. Earlier this month, the Jets turned down his option.
LaCosse had 24 catches and 250 yards while filling in as the Broncos’ starting tight end for a period last year, but Denver non-tendered him this offseason. With Rob Gronkowski‘s status for next year still up in the air, LaCosse could be an option to help fill the gap, albeit one with less star power.