The New England Patriots have been very passive in free agency, and that mindset has led to starters like JC Jackson leaving for greener pastures. Bill Belichick needs to get to work if he wants to make sure that his fantastic defense from a year ago can replicate its fantastic production.
With Jackson gone, a greater emphasis will fall on names like Jalen Mills and the resurgent Kyle Dugger in the secondary. While those two should be solid performers considering the pedigree they have and experience in their system, the Patriots could stand to add one more veteran to the mix.
With Devin McCourty getting a little long in the tooth, a safety would be preferred. However, given Belichick’s fetish for moving defensive backs all around the secondary, he’ll need to add a very specific type of player. The latest buzz makes it sound like New England has zeroed in on a potential target.
New England hosted Jabrill Peppers on Monday, who spent the last three seasons with the New York Giants. Not only does Peppers have familiarity with this coaching staff due to his two seasons under Pats assistant Joe Judge, but his style of play fits what Belichick wants to do on defense.
Will the New England Patriots sign Jabrill Peppers?
It’s a shame that Peppers has been stuck on so many bad teams, because a 215-pound safety with some fantastic straight-line speed is certainly capable of making some highlight-reel plays. Peppers has 4.5 sacks in his career, and going to Belichick could help him see time as a slot corner, box safety, and master blitzer.
Peppers knocked down 11 passes and recorded 2.5 sacks in 2020, where he was a major part of New York’s surprisingly excellent defense. Peppers might not be a cornerstone like his first-round status suggests, but he’s a uniquely built safety with his best seasons in the windshield.
Peppers might be able to line up in several different spots on the field, but his value as a pure coverage safety might leave Belichick wanting more. With just four career interceptions and some poor zone coverage instincts, giving him a lengthy multi-year deal might be a tad risky.
Peppers seems like the player who needs some serious direction, as playing on some bad Browns teams and laughable Giants squads didn’t help him reach his full potential. Throwing Belichick into the mix is exactly what he needs to turn into the game-changer everyone thought he was going to be at Michigan.