While the opening of the free agency negotiating period on Monday saw the Patriots lose a number of key players like Trey Flowers and Trent Brown to big-money deals elsewhere, the approach of the opening of actual free agency at 4 p.m. Wednesday was preceded by word that New England was bringing back some of its own recent talent.
Atop that list came a report from NBC Sports Boston that the Patriots will be re-signing veteran cornerback Jason McCourty to a two-year deal, keeping him in the New England defensive backfield alongside his twin brother Devin.
McCourty arrived via trade from the Browns last offseason and went on to play a key role in the Patriots secondary by 12 of 16 games played in 2018 as well as all three of his first career postseason contests on the way to a Super Bowl ring.
NFL Network brought word on Wednesday morning that New England is expected to re-sign veteran edge player John Simon.
Simon joined the Patriots after being released by the Colts last September, going on to start two of 11 regular season games played and one of three postseason games. Simon, a veteran of six NFL seasons in Baltimore, Houston, Indy and now New England, finished the 2018 regular season with 18 tackles, two sacks and three QB hits. He also had a half sack in the AFC title game in Kansas City.
Finally, NFL Network also reported that after a season away from Foxborough with the Dolphins veteran running back and special teamer Brandon Bolden will be returning to the Patriots.
Bolden was a versatile, respected, trusted backup runner and kicking game contributor from 2012-17 before spending last fall in Miami. Interestingly, by far his best game as a Dolphin came with a pair of touchdowns against the Patriots in the “Miami Miracle” in South Beach in December, including a career-long 54-yard scoring scamper.