Potential Patriots Target To Join AFC Upstart

The New England Patriots have yet to make a notable splash two days into the NFL legal tampering period.

The same can’t be said about an AFC upstart that is looking to build off a surprising run to the playoffs this past season.

Minnesota Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter seemed like a logical fit for the Patriots, but instead the Houston Texans made sure to scoop up the four-time Pro Bowler on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Texans gave the 29-year-old Hunter a massive contract that seemed well out of the range of what the Patriots would have offered with the measured approach and modest spending New England has exhibited. Hunter received a two-year deal from the Texans worth $49 million, with $48 million guaranteed, per Schefter. Hunter’s contract has a max value of $51 million with incentives.

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The Texans, who captured the AFC South crown and won a playoff game this past season after going 3-13-1 in 2022, are getting a sack master in Hunter to add to their defense. Hunter has five double-digit sack seasons in his career, including last year when he posted a career-high 16.5 sacks to go along with 83 tackles. The LSU product totaled 87.5 sacks over his eight seasons with the Vikings.

Despite glaring needs on offense, the Patriots can’t solely focus on that side of the ball in free agency. Hunter could have given New England’s defense another dynamic option on the edge to pair opposite of Matthew Judon. The Patriots ended up filling that need by re-signing Josh Uche.

But instead of getting into an opponent’s backfield with the Patriots, Hunter will now use his skill set to do that for the Texans and create a formidable tandem with Will Anderson.

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