The Detroit Lions have already signed two new linebackers to the team during this free agency period, but Matt Patricia—a former linebackers coach himself—may not be done. According to Saints beat writer Herbie Teope, the Lions are hosting Jonathan Freeny for a visit:
Free-agent LB Jonathan Freeny is visiting the #Lions today, but #Saints remain a possibility for him to return, according to a source. Freeny joined Saints in mid-December, made impact as part of LB rotation and totaled five tackles and a sack in postseason.— Herbie Teope (@HerbieTeope) March 16, 2018
This is clearly a move that Patricia is behind, seeing as Freeny spent three season with the Patriots. Out of Rutgers, Freeny original joined the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent. After getting minimal playing time in Miami from 2012 to 2014, the Patriots signed him. For the next two seasons, Freeny started 11 games for the Patriots, tallying 60 tackles and 1.0 sacks in those two years.
It won’t shock you to hear that Freeny is a versatile player who can fill many roles. Here’s what Bill Belichick had to say about the veteran linebacker after he signed a two-year extension with the Patriots in 2016:
“Jonathan’s a very dependable player,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a Saturday media conference. “He’s able to do a lot of different roles for us. He can play inside and outside, on the line of scrimmage and off the ball, defensively. He’s been a very valuable player for us in the kicking game, obviously with some size. So a four-phase, special teams player... Everyone in the organization looks up to him.”
Special teams value? Check. Can play both on and off the ball? Check. Direct experience with Patricia? Check.
If the Lions can keep him away from the Saints, he’d be a very good fit in Detroit.