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Patriots reportedly re-sign running back Kenjon Barner
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Danny Shelton Jerseys 2019 , lose cornerback Cyrus Jones to the Ravens The New England Patriots’ front office continues its busy two-day stretch. After reports from earlier today that the team made four practice squad transactions, it has reportedly also filled the previously open spot on its active 53-man roster: the Patriots decided to re-sign running back and punt returner Kenjon Barner – marking the third time that the veteran signed a contract in New England over the last month.Barner, who spent the majority of his first five years in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles, first joined the Patriots on September 11. Filling the roster spot created by Jeremy Hill tearing his ACL, the Oregon product failed to stick around and after just one week with – and without appearing in a game – he was let go again. It did not take him long to return to New England, though.After running back Rex Burkhead joined Hill on the injured reserve list, Barner was again brought on board to fill the newly created roster spot. This time, he even saw playing time an registered three carries for 11 yards during the Patriots’ blowout win over the Miami Dolphins. However, he still did not do enough to be kept around: with Julian Edelman returning from a four-game suspension, Barner was again the odd man out.Now, he is back again to fill the open roster spot created by the release of former second-round draft pick Cyrus Jones. Like Jones, Barner has experience running back kicks. Playing for the Eagles in 2017, he returned 27 punts for an average of 8.9 yards as well as 10 kickoffs for an average of 19.4 yards. He also muffed three punts. His offensive output White Josh Gordon Jerseys , meanwhile, was rather limited: Barner registered just 21 touches for 113 yards and a touchdown.Back in New England, Barner will likely fill the same role he held during his first two stints with the team: he will be a backup option at running back to provide depth behind Sony Michel and James White. Furthermore, he provides the Patriots with an additional body to run back punts and kickoffs.As mentioned above, the Patriots recently parted ways with Cyrus Jones: the cornerback and punt returner was let go on Saturday after being a healthy scratch during the Patriots’ Thursday night game against the Indianapolis Colts. Jones was a candidate to re-join the team via its practice squad but instead has found a new albeit familiar home. The Baltimore Ravens successfully claimed the 24-year old on waivers.Jones originally joined the Patriots as a second-round draft pick in 2016. After struggling mightily early on during his rookie season on both defense and special teams, and effectively being redshirted afterwards, the Alabama product appeared to be on his way to bounce back one year later. However, he tore his ACL in the preseason and was subsequently placed on season-ending injured reserve.After getting released during 2018’s roster cuts, Jones was added to the Ravens’ practice squad. Two weeks later, New England added him to its active roster again: Jones appeared in two games for the team as a depth defender and punt returner. He looked solid – returning five kicks for 45 yards – but failed to hold onto the job after Julian Edelman was activated to the 53-man roster. His release was therefore no surprise. The New England Patriots are usually active around the NFL trade deadline because it’s perfect timing for Bill Belichick and company to add some valuable players to the roster. Former quality starters will have settled into back-up roles under new coaching staffs and Belichick is always interested in getting them back into the line-up, while bad teams are willing to trade good players as they turn their focus towards 2019 and adding draft capital.Over the years, the Patriots have acquired players like Aqib Talib, Akeem Ayers Josh Gordon Jerseys 2019 , Jonathan Casillas, Akiem Hicks, and Kyle Van Noy. All played crucial roles on the Patriots quest for Super Bowl titles and all were worth the late-round picks or players given up to add them to the team.It’s worth noting that the vast majority of Bill Belichick’s pre-deadline trades have been for defensive players- and I don’t expect that to change this year. When looking at the Patriots roster, there are some clear opportunities for improvement and most openings are on the defensive side of the ball.The only possible offensive position that I could see getting an upgrade would be at the running back position as the Patriots have three injured running backs- Jeremy Hill, Rex Burkhead, and Sony Michel- and only James White and Kenjon Barner for the coming weeks. But if the reports of Michel’s potential return in a couple weeks are true, then it wouldn’t make sense to trade for a running back; the Patriots don’t add a player for a couple-week band-aid. White and Barner should be able to hold down the fort for a couple weeks until Michel’s return, and practice squad running back Kenneth Farrow could be added for depth. There’s no need to trade for a running back that wouldn’t see the field once Michel returned.Instead, the real help needed is on the defensive side of the ball- and I think defensive tackle and linebacker are two areas of interest because I don’t think edge defender or defensive backs are really positions of need.The Patriots have an elite defensive end in Trey Flowers and a pair of fine rotational players in Adrian Clayborn and Deatrich Wise. The team also has a deep bench of fringe players at the position in Derek Rivers, Keionta Davis, John Simon, and Geneo Grissom. Perhaps a veteran pass rusher will become available and the team would have no qualms about moving on from Davis, Simon White Jonathan Jones Jerseys , or Grissom, but I think the team is holding all of them on the roster for a reason- and adding another pass rusher to the mix wouldn’t make sense.As for the secondary, I think the team’s interest in Patrick Peterson was simply due diligence. Stephon Gilmore is playing at an All Pro level, while Jason McCourty is playing at a Pro Bowl level. Jonathan Jones, Eric Rowe, and J.C. Jackson form a solid depth chart at cornerback, with Keion Crossen as a fringe player and Duke Dawson expected to return from the injured reserve in the next couple of weeks. Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, and Duron Harmon are as good of a safety trio that you’ll ever find in the league.So in my mind, the Patriots would be interested in adding players at defensive tackle or at linebacker.On the defensive line, Lawrence Guy is fantastic and Danny Shelton has been playing well, but Malcom Brown has been entirely underwhelming and Adam Butler isn’t good enough to deter the Patriots from adding another player at the position. The Patriots previously tried to claim Bills defensive tackle Jordan Phillips off waivers, so it’s certainly a position of interest for New England to upgrade.With Brown in the final year of his contract Jonathan Jones Jerseys 2019 , I actually wouldn’t be shocked if he were traded away, although I don’t expect that to happen. Brown had been one of the most consistent defensive tackles in the league until this year and I expect the Patriots to trust that version of Brown to return by the end of the year- and there wouldn’t be a defensive tackle available that would be better than Brown.But if the Patriots were to make a call to add some talent, they might be interested in Giants defensive lineman Mario Edwards, who could be an upgrade over Butler on passing downs, or 49ers defensive linemen Ronald Blair or Earl Mitchell. The Raiders have made it known that every player is available via trade, while both Blair and Mitchell are pretty far down the depth chart in San Francisco.At linebacker, the Patriots have two quality starters in Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy, while Elandon Roberts shows up in flashes. He’s been better about not over-pursuing in recent weeks, but there’s honestly no depth behind him with Nicholas Grigsby and Brandon King both pure special teams players. Adding a player like Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick or Giants linebacker B.J. Goodson could really help the Patriots depth at the position. Reddick considered available for trade, while Goodson has fallen down the depth chart this year.If I’m Belichick and the Patriots, I would bank on Malcom Brown bouncing back in the second half of the season with the understanding that no defensive lineman would represent an improvement (especially with Damon Harrison in Detroit). I would definitely be interested in adding Reddick, the 13th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, from the Cardinals. Reddick is under contract through the 2020 season and would have a fifth-year option. While he hasn’t been able to pick up the Cardinals defense as they’ve transitioned from a 3-4 to a 4-3 White Ja’Whaun Bentley Jersey , he would be an ideal addition to the Patriots defense.Reddick is a former running back and safety that moved to the pass rusher position in college and played 3-4 inside linebacker, 3-4 outside linebacker, and 4-3 outside linebacker in Arizona. He sounds oddly familiar to Jamie Collins, except slightly smaller, faster, and less explosive; Collins was Reddick’s comparable coming out of college.I see Reddick having a similar role as Kyle Van Noy in the Patriots defense, which would be a good thing to have. Dont’a Hightower could move to the middle with Reddick and Van Noy on the edges, allowing Hightower to plug the run up the gut and also more effectively blitz the quarterback.Will the Patriots make the trade? I could see it happening, especially with Belichick’s recent love of acquiring former first round busts. But that might be a “next year” trade instead of a “this year” trade- unless the Patriots would be willing to swap a defender or two in a player-for-player deal.So where does this leave us? Reddick or bust? I think the Patriots could acquire a veteran linebacker that could plug into the line-up, but I won’t hold my breath. We might just watch the Patriots sit tight this year with wide receiver Josh Gordon as the “only” acquisition.
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