New England Patriots

Report: Trent Brown leaving Patriots for Bengals in free agency

The Patriots need a starting-caliber left tackle.

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The New England Patriots will be without a very talented and very mercurial offensive tackle in 2024.

Trent Brown is signing a one-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday.

Brown's departure isn't surprising given his multiple on-field and off-field issues in New England last season. He missed six games in 2023, including a healthy scratch in Week 17 that reportedly was the result of Brown rubbing members of the Patriots' coaching staff the wrong way.

When healthy, though, Brown was one of the best left tackles in football, and his exit highlights New England's glaring need at one of the most important positions in football.

The Patriots re-signed Mike Onwenu -- who's expected to start at right tackle -- and added former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor in free agency, but they still lack a starting-caliber left tackle who may be called upon to protect a rookie quarterback if the team uses the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on a QB.

Brown, meanwhile, helps the Bengals address the departure of offensive tackle Jonah Williams and gives Cincinnati two talented tackles alongside Orlando Brown Jr. Brown will reunite with ex-Patriots tight end Mike Gesicki, who also joined the Bengals in free agency.

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