According to a report from Mike Reiss of ESPN, the Patriots are signing former Giants safety Jabrill Peppers to a contract, Peppers had reportedly visited with New England on Monday.
Peppers' versatility has long been an intriguing fit in New England, and though his position might say safety, he's well-versed in linebacker and slot roles within the defense, along with special teams. A first-round pick (25th overall) of the Browns in 2017, he played in Cleveland for two seasons, recording two interceptions, seven forced fumbles (four recovered) and 97 solo tackles.
He was part of the blockbuster trade with the Giants that sent Odell Beckham to the Browns in 2019. Peppers has since spent the last three seasons in New York where he was a two-time captain but was limited to just six games in 2021 after tearing his ACL and suffering a high ankle sprain. He's ended two of the last three seasons on Injured Reserve but is still just 26 years old. Peppers will be looking to get healthy and back on track in New England where his versatility will be put to good use. He played all over the place for the Giants, with PFF breaking down his limited 2021 season by these snaps totals:
- D-line: 32 snaps
- Box: 60 snaps
- Slot corner: 107 snaps
- Wide corner: 19 snaps
- Free safety: 11 snaps
Though the Patriots appear well-set at the safety position between Devin McCourty, Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips, along with second-year player Josh Bledsoe, all can play multiple roles that blur the lines between the second and third levels of the defense. Peppers worked out with the linebackers at the 2017 Scouting Combine, posting an impressive 4.46 40-yard dash. His combination of size, speed and experience are intriguing for a gameplan defense that will be looking to throw some new curveballs at opponents this year. Peppers can play just about anywhere and has two years of experience working with Joe Judge.
"The ultimate Swiss Army Knife on the collegiate level, and will likely play a hybrid role on the next level that allows him to blitz, cover and chase, Peppers' draft value will be helped by his return ability and that is a role he should maintain throughout the earlier stages of his career," wrote NFL.com's Lance Zierlein of Peppers prior to the draft. "While Peppers doesn't have the production teams expect from first-round defenders, he should benefit from a role that is more clearly defined on the next level."
Peppers also served as New York's punt returner so he will not only bring value to defense but could be part of the replacement plan for departed returner Gunner Olszewski.