The Patriots added some size to their front seven when they agreed to a deal with defensive lineman Davon Godchaux (pronounced: Da-VON God-chow) to a two-year, $16 million deal with $9 million guaranteed. The 6-3, 311-pound Godchaux played for the Miami Dolphins since being drafted in the fifth round in 2017 and should help improve a defense that ranked 26th against the rush, surrendering 131.4 yards per game.
In his four seasons with the Dolphins, he overcame a troubled past and was viewed as a leader in the community.
Here’s a look at Godchaux.
He’s coming off an injury
Godchaux’s 2020 season ended with a torn bicep in Miami’s Week 5 43-17 win over the 49ers. He had recorded 16 tackles through that point in the season, and had appeared in 52 of 53 games with the Dolphins, with 42 starts, including all of the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He registered 179 tackles in his three plus seasons in Miami.
It wasn’t his first major injury: during his senior year at Plaquemine Senior High School in Louisiana, Godchaux tore two ligaments in his right knee in the season opener and had surgery to repair his MCL and ACL.
He had a rough upbringing in Louisiana
In 2012, Godchaux’s childhood home was riddled by bullets in a drive-by shooting by gang members looking for his twin brother.
Godchaux had been at basketball practice when the shooting occurred, and returned home to find yellow caution tape around his house and the police on his front lawn. The experience was a powerful one for him.
“It was a rough day,” Godchaux told the Baton Rouge newspaper, The Advocate, in 2015. “Come home from basketball practice and had to see that. I grew up broke, but I don’t speak on it.
“It drives me a lot — each and every day. When I get tired, I dig in, dig deep. You got to dig deep and find that extra drive, something that drives you. That’s the extra kick I get.”
He was arrested while at LSU
Godchaux was arrested in September 2016, during his junior season with the Tigers, on charges of domestic abuse battery/child endangerment and false imprisonment that were later dropped.
Godchaux and his girlfriend were fighting over infidelity, according to arrest documents.
“The woman said as she tried to leave the apartment with their 10-month-old, Godchaux twice grabbed her — once by her hair and a second time by the shoulder — and tossed her backwards. The unidentified woman said Godchaux refused to let her leave the apartment.”
And it might have caused him to slip in the 2017 draft
Godchaux declared for the draft after recording 6.5 sacks in his junior season, believing he would be selected in the third or fourth round. He fell to the fifth round before the Dolphins selected him with their second pick of the fifth round, 178th overall.
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said the team looked closely into what he called a “very serious allegation, [but] ... once we got the facts, we felt comfortable” drafting him.
He impressed the team early on in his first training camp, and played along side veteran Ndamukong Suh at times in his rookie year, appearing in 15 games and registering 40 tackles.
The slide in the draft still motivates Godchaux, as he got a tattoo on his left arm that says “5th RD PICK 178″.
He was a Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in 2019
Godchaux was nominated by the Dolphins for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, which recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field.
In his third year with Miami, he joined the fundraising efforts for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge while his sister battled cervical cancer. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Godchaux pledged to donate $100 for every tackle he made in October.
He started Chauxdown Inc., which facilitates programming for at-risk youth. He makes yearly visits to Boys and Girls Clubs and TruPrep Academy, an all-boys school in Miami Gardens, to mentor kids about making positive choices — the mission of his foundations.
He also has a mentoring program for teens ages 13-19 in his hometown. The program gives youth the opportunity to engage in tutoring sessions and college visits that expose them to new experiences.
He seems pretty happy to be joining the Patriots
Godchaux had been looking forward to cashing in in free agency heading into the final year of his rookie deal with the Dolphins, with some projecting that he could make as much as $10 million per season before he was injured in 2020. Still, he took to Twitter to express his excitement about heading to New England.
Foxborough let’s get it🤞🏾— Davon Godchaux (@ChauxDown) March 15, 2021
LFG— Davon Godchaux (@ChauxDown) March 15, 2021
Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.