The agent for safety Chris Hayes confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the Patriots reached an agreement with the former New York Jets special teams standout. Also, former Jets defensive end Rick Lyle appears to be headed this way, although his agent, Jim Steiner, was unavailable to confirm an ESPN.com report.
Citing Hayes' familiarity with several Patriots players and coaches as the main factor for signing, agent Brian Levy expects his client to fit in nicely with the Super Bowl champs.
"He has a lot of experience working with not only Bill but Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Scott Pioli and a number of former Jets players that are up there."
Hayes was a part-time starter who excelled on special teams during his five seasons with the Jets. He began is career in 1996 with Green Bay but played just two games for the Packers. Hayes did play in all three of Green Bay's postseason games, including a Super Bowl XXXI victory over the Patriots. The Packers traded him to New York in 1997 in exchange for cornerback Carl Greenwood and Hayes has been a fixture on the Jets coverage units ever since.
He led the team in special teams tackles during his tenure, compiling 74 during his first four years with the club, more than any other Jet in team history. It's unclear exactly what role he'll have in New England, but Levy indicated that Hayes met with team officials Tuesday afternoon to discuss how he'll be used.
Lyle, who just finished his eighth NFL season, also is reportedly signed. The Patriots would not confirm any of the day's moves (Donald Hayes agreed in principle to a deal with the Patriots earlier) but there were indications that an announcement could come as early as today.
Lyle is a stout run-stopper who played for Belichick in both Cleveland (1994-95) and New York (1997-99) and gives the team an experienced two-gap defensive lineman. He finished last season 40 tackles and 3.5 sacks for the Jets.