The New England Patriots signed James Ihedigbo as an afterthought last year. They never expected he would play more than 65 percent of the team's snaps at safety during the 2011 season, but it was that kind of campaign in New England.
The former New York Jet was a lifesaver last year, but he was not viewed as a long-term solution. That's why he remained a free agent until Friday, when the Patriots officially announced that they had re-signed him.
The move makes plenty of sense for them. They bring back a veteran who can help on defense and special teams. The Patriots look deeper at safety this year, but they are still counting on former San Diego Chargers backup Steve Gregory and rookie Tavon Wilson. It's not the greatest group, and coach Bill Belichick knows how even the best-laid plans can fall apart quickly.
Ihedigbo isn't a lock to make the team, but he just made life tougher on the rest of the Patriots safeties.