After tons of news of departing free agents, the Patriots are finally beginning to add to their roster. On Thursday evening, several have reported the Patriots have agreed to terms with free-agent safety Adrian Phillips on a two-year deal.
Phillips Has Shined as a Special Teams Guy and Safety
Phillips’ Pro-Bowl designations came as a special teams player, but he has also had played a great deal as a safety. In his six-year career, spent with the Los Angeles Chargers organization, Phillips has five interceptions and 251 tackles.
The 27-year-old Phillips, who turns 28 later this month, missed nine games in 2019 with a broken arm but has proven to be a strong contributor when healthy. Could Phillips replace Duron Harmon whom the team reportedly traded to the Detroit Lions on Wednesday, or will he be a rotational player at strong safety along with Patrick Chung?
What the Patriots Media Has to Say About Phillips
Here is what some members of the media had to offer on Phillips and what he could bring to the Patriots in 2020:
With so much transition, the news of Phillips’ agreement with the team is the next step in carving an identity for the team’s defense in 2020. Much has been made of Tom Brady’s exit, and with good reason, but it’s the Pats’ top-rated defense from 2019 that has seen the most change.
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Phillips Contract Details
The Phillips deal isn’t one that would be considered a massive deal from a pure monetary standpoint. Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Phillips is getting $3.5 million guaranteed with most of it back-loaded, and he’ll also receive a $1.5 million signing bonus.
There is also a $1 million roster bonus with $500,000 coming each year, and another $1.5 million in incentives. The details of those incentives are still unknown. If things pan out, Phillips would be an excellent bargain acquisition for the Pats. He appears to be brought in to cover two voids created by departing players.
Harmon was traded to the Lions and the team also lost special teams ace, Nate Ebner. Because of Phillips’ versatility, he could be asked to fill in for both players.
Who Are the Safeties Still Under Contract for the Patriots?
Besides Phillips, the Pats still have Patrick Chung and Terrance Brooks. There’s also Devin McCourty at free safety
The Pats often use Chung and Brooks as a mixture of a linebacker and safety, but not every player is built for that sort of a hybrid-role. How well Phillips does in that situation could dictate how much playing time he receives in addition to his special teams’ duties.
In any case, it’s a solid, low-risk, potentially high-reward signing for a team that suddenly has multiple holes to fill on defense. Phillips is an experienced, but still youthful enough option to supply some hope to Patriots fans.