New England Patriots 2016 Player Grade: Chris Long
By Matty Simo
The New England Patriots needed a defensive end to help fill the void left by Chandler Jones in 2016. Chris Long signed a one-year deal to do just that.
Defensive end Chris Long was one of two veteran one-and-done players the New England Patriots acquired prior to the 2016 season looking to win a Super Bowl ring. Long signed a one-year deal as a free agent, and tight end Martellus Bennett arrived in a trade via the Chicago Bears. Both played key roles and achieved their goals.
While Bennett’s role increased due to injuries to Rob Gronkowski, Long did his best to maximize his time on the field while sharing with others. One of the reasons he decided to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles recently was to play a bigger role on the defense.
Despite a limited role, Long was productive with 35 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He got off to a great start with one sack and three tackles in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals. That was an especially big performance considering it was also the first game for Jones versus his former team.
Long would not register his second sack until Week 12 against the New York Jets. He had another sack the following game while playing his former team the St. Louis Rams before tallying his fourth and final one in Week 16.
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Long did not contribute much in the postseason, with only one tackle coming in the AFC Championship Game. That was probably one reason he was frustrated with his role even though New England went on to win the Super Bowl.
On a positive note, Long did avoid injuries and played in every game with the Patriots. Long proved that he could still play after suiting up for just 18 games the previous two years in St. Louis. And he earned himself a two-year deal with the Eagles.