NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport confirmed Tuesday that Chris Long is joining the New England Patriots on a one-year deal worth about $2 million, according to a source informed of his thinking. Long, who spent eight seasons in St. Louis with the Rams, previously visited the Falcons and Redskins. ESPN's Trey Wingo first reported the news.
The No. 2 pick of the 2008 draft, Long racked up 54.5 sacks with the Rams to go with excellent run defense. But injuries have sapped his productivity over the last two years, limiting him to only four sacks in 18 games. Long reportedly was looking for a place where he could go after a Super Bowl ring, and the Patriots certainly make sense as a destination on that front. The team figures to use Long as a rotational defensive end who shares snaps with Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich and two mid-round picks from the 2015 draft: Geneo Grissom and Trey Flowers.
Long was one of the highest-ranked players left on our top 99 free agents, ranking 25th overall entering free agency. The Patriots have had good fortune adding hungry veterans looking for a ring over the years with players like Rodney Harrison, Junior Seau and Darrelle Revis. Long is a medium-risk, high-reward player that will help to make up for the loss of Jones on Tuesday.