New England Patriots

Report: Patriots signing veteran safety to one-year deal

The Patriots are adding some depth in their defensive backfield.

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The New England Patriots aren't done adding in NFL free agency.

The Patriots are signing former Los Angeles Chargers and Atlanta Falcons safety Jaylinn Hawkins to a one-year contract, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Thursday.

A fourth-round draft pick out of the University of California in 2020, Hawkins started 16 games for the Falcons in 2022, recording two interceptions, six pass breakups and 84 tackles. The Falcons waived him in October 2023, however, and he finished the campaign with the Chargers, shifting primarily to a special teams role while tallying just 11 tackles in 10 games that included three starts.

The 26-year-old Hawkins joins a Patriots safety group that currently includes Jabrill Peppers, Marte Mapu and Joshuah Bledsoe. New England also placed the transition tag on Kyle Dugger, meaning the team has the right to match any offer Dugger receives in free agency.

Hawkins seems like more of a depth add with special teams versatility, and the Patriots would be thin at the position if Dugger signs elsewhere after they released Adrian Phillips earlier this offseason. So, Hawkins' reported addition could be a sign that New England plans on keeping Dugger and starting him alongside Peppers at safety.

Hawkins is the ninth outside free agent the Patriots have brought in under de facto general manager Eliot Wolf. Check out the tracker below for a full rundown of their moves.

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