According to a report from ESPN's Field Yates, the Patriots are bringing back special teams ace and locker room leader Matthew Slater on a two-year deal. Slater was set to hit free agency at the start of the new league year but will return to the only team he's played for.
The 12-year veteran is a critical part of the Patriots leadership, known for his emotional post-game speeches, breaking down the locker room with the traditional "How do we feel?" chant that was originally started by Tedy Bruschi. But Slater's on-field presence is a welcome one as well and he'll combine with Justin Bethel to form the most formidable pair of gunners in the NFL. Slater recovered a blocked punt for the first touchdown of his career in 2019. He'll turn 35 in September but remains one of the best special teamers in the NFL.
It's an important first move of free agency for the Patriots in an offseason that has a collection of team leaders, including Tom Brady and Devin McCourty, poised to hit the open market. Slater is a critical piece who will help ensure some continuity of leadership and culture.