Patriots Rumors: Team interested in linebacker Preston Brown

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 20: Wide receiver Jamison Crowder #80 of the Washington Redskins is tackled by middle linebacker Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills in the third quarter at FedExField on December 20, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 20: Wide receiver Jamison Crowder #80 of the Washington Redskins is tackled by middle linebacker Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills in the third quarter at FedExField on December 20, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images) /

Recent New England Patriots rumors involve Preston Brown, as the Patriots are believed to be interested in the linebacker.

With NFL Free Agency knocking on the door, New England Patriots rumors are going to pick up. A lot of the free agency focus thus far for the Patriots has involved Dion Lewis. Lewis could be the top running back available this offseason depending on what happens with Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Lewis will be a popular player regardless of whether Bell re-signs in Pittsburgh or hits the open market. New England will have to wait that out, but there are other areas on the roster that need attention as well. One of those positions is linebacker.

The Patriots had a strong linebacker group to begin the season. Dont’a Hightower was retained last offseason. Kyle Van Noy turned into every down player. David Harris provided veteran experience in the middle.

However, injuries and ineffectiveness plagued the Patriots at the second level at different parts of the season. They lucked into James Harrison, who was released by the Steelers the final week of the regular season.

According to reports, there is a reasonable chance that Harrison could return. While he would help, there is still work to be done at the position. As a result, it should come as no surprise that the Patriots have been linked to a free agent linebacker.

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According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, it is believed that the Patriots are interested in free agent inside linebacker, Preston Brown. It should surprise no one that Brown is a free agent of the Buffalo Bills, a team the Patriots poach players from it seems on a yearly basis.

It is actually something that Brown mentioned. Brown discussed players leaving Buffalo and finding success elsewhere, naming the Patriots.

"“It’s a little weird,” Brown said of his ex-teammates thriving for their AFC East rivals. “I’m not going to sit here and lie like, ‘Oh well.’ You’re happy for them, but you’re also like, all right, every time somebody goes to the Patriots, they’re going to the Pro Bowl or the Super Bowl. It’s something you feel. A lot of guys left the last year, and it seemed like everybody who left us was going to the playoffs — (Rams wide receivers) Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, (49ers receiver) Marquise Goodwin. Everybody who left had a good season. It’s definitely something you look at like, wow, those guys are having success. But the Patriots, they definitely seem to get the best out of the Buffalo Bills.”"

Last season the Patriots signed two former Bills players. Stephon Gilmore and Mike Gilislee both signed with New England after playing previously in Buffalo. Before that, wide receiver Chris Hogan also departed Buffalo for New England.

It was another thing that Brown discussed, as he was happy to see his former teammates succeeding. He also commented on how the Patriots game plan to the strength of their players.

"“I just think the whole organization in New England does a great job of knowing what those players’ skills are and then utilizing them in that way,” Brown said. “They know Chris Hogan can run vertical, so they throw him vertical routes. They know Stephon can play zero-(safety), man-to-man coverage all day, and that’s what he does. They used his skills. Stephon probably wouldn’t have been as good in Buffalo this year because we did a lot of zone stuff. Him playing man and having fun, those guys used his talents. ‘Touchdown Mike’ earlier in the year was scoring touchdowns. Those guys definitely played well when they were out there.”"

Could Brown be the next Bills player to defect to the Patriots? There is a good chance it could happen. Based on what he said, he could have some interest in joining them. The need is there at linebacker for the Patriots, and Brown thinks highly of the team.

Last season Brown set a career-high with 84 tackles, with a career-high 60 assists. He also added three defended passes.

What the Patriots would really like with Brown is his durability. Injuries crushed the Patriots linebackers last season. Brown has been able to stay on the field throughout his career thus far, as he has appeared in all 16 regular season games in each of the four seasons he has been in the NFL.

While only 25-years old, Brown believes that he could help teach the younger players some things. He also believes he would fit into their scheme well.

"“I think I can definitely help the young guys they have there now,” Brown said. “They’ve got some good young talent at linebacker. They run pretty well. I know (David) Harris retired. A lot of young guys were playing well, (Kyle) Van Noy and (Elandon Roberts) played well. They definitely have some things they can work on like we all do, but I think I can help that defense get better. “"

It certainly sounds like Brown is hoping that the Patriots come calling once free agency begins in a few weeks. Such praise for a rival is rarely spoken, but Brown sounds very high on what the Patriots are doing.

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Brown would be a solid addition to the Patriots. He would help fill a need for them while weakening one of their competitors in the AFC East. Landing Brown would be a win for the Patriots in many ways.