The Patriots added another safety to the mix Wednesday with the signing of Browns free agent safety Chris Akins. The 5-11, 195-pound safety played in 15 games in Cleveland last season, primarily in special teams action and finished second on the team with 25 special teams tackles. The team confirmed the signing late Wednesday, although terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 26-year-old, four-year NFL veteran was originally drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL draft. Akins spent parts of each of his first three season in the league with the Packers, and also had a stop in Dallas, before spending all of 2002 in Cleveland. In 49 career games he's totaled 17 tackles and one pass defensed in regular defensive action. Akins has shown a proficiency on special teams though, where he has 57 career stops, including 15 in his rookie year and 25 last season.
Akins could fill a similar role with the Patriots as many of its special teams players have over the last few seasons, including the likes of Je'Rod Cherry and currently un-signed free agent Chris Hayes. Akins could also provide special teams support should recent speculation on the trade or de-franchising of safety/special teams player Tebucky Jones come to fruition.