Patriots Reportedly Sign Versatile Defensive Lineman

The New England Patriots’ first reported move on the first official day of free agency saw them poach a former Pittsburgh Steelers pass-rusher named Watts.

No, not Watt. Watts.

The Patriots are signing free agent defensive lineman Armon Watts to a one-year deal worth up to $3 million, according to Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald. Is that not the guy you thought we were talking about?

Watts is a depth signing for the Patriots, who desperately needed to add bodies on the interior defensive line after releasing Lawrence Guy in February. The 27-year-old widely is regarded as a better pass-rusher than run defender, recording 8.5 career sacks to just seven career tackles for loss. He played just 28% of defensive snaps in Pittsburgh last year, recording 15 total tackles, three quarterback hits and a half-sack.

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Watts spent the first three seasons of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He broke out in 2021, starting nine games and recording 46 tackles, 5.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and 10 QB hits, but was released prior to 2022 — which he eventually spent with the Chicago Bears.

It’s expected that he can provide versatility, as well, working on the interior and edge.

The Patriots have plenty of moves left to make, but Watts’ arrival signals a desire to build defensive depth entering draft season. He joins a defensive tackle room in New England that already consists of Christian Barmore, Davon Godchaux, Deatrich Wise, Jeremiah Pharms Jr., Daniel Ekuale and Keion White.

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