PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Patriots are signing safety Jabrill Peppers to a one-year deal worth up to $5 million, ESPN reported Tuesday.
Peppers is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in Week 7 last season, but he is expected to be ready by the start of training camp. Prior to his injury, Peppers played in six games for the Giants last year, registering 29 tackles, four quarterback hits, and a sack.
Peppers, a 2017 first-round pick out of Michigan, began his career with the Browns. After two seasons, he was traded to New York, where he spent the last three seasons. His most productive year statistically was 2020, when he started 15 games and recorded 91 tackles, including eight for a loss, 11 passes defenses, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception.
At least one member of New England’s coaching staff is familiar with Peppers. Offensive assistant Joe Judge coached him for two seasons in New York. Judge seemed to be a big fan, as evidenced by his glowing remarks following Peppers’s season-ending ACL tear.
“It’s really tough having a guy like that who puts so much into the team, puts the team first, does everything you ask him to do to the best of his ability, brings so much juice to the team, is a productive player on the field, wears so many hats for you on the team and is always like, ‘Whatever you need, Coach, here I go,’ ” Judge said at the time. “For this to end his season, that’s something you don’t want to see for any player.”
Patriots director of scouting Eliot Wolf also is familiar with Peppers, as Wolf was Cleveland’s assistant general manager when the Browns drafted him.
Peppers has a connection with a player on the Patriots roster, too. He overlapped with linebacker Josh Uche at Michigan.
Yessirrrrr @JabrillPeppers— Josh Uche 🧠🇳🇬 (@_Uche35) March 29, 2022
Peppers, who turns 27 in October, brings versatility, athleticism, and speed to New England’s defense. He joins Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, and Joshuah Bledsoe at safety.
Judon remains busy
Patriots outside linebacker Matthew Judon’s list of offseason targets keeps growing.
Judon, who has been actively trying to recruit players to New England, told Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf via Twitter Tuesday afternoon that he’s “officially on the clock.”
Unlike some of Judon’s other targets — Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., and Jarvis Landry — Metcalf is not a free agent. In order for Metcalf to change teams, the Seahawks must trade him because he is under contract for one more season.
Coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday the Seahawks intend for Metcalf to stay with the organization. The parties have not yet discussed an extension, though Carroll said those talks will happen once the dust settles from free agency, which follows the organization’s typical offseason timeline.
“We’d love to figure that out,” Carroll said. “We are in a normal kind of mode this time of year. We have not gotten to that topic yet specifically because we’ve got so many other things going on, but we’d love to have him.’’
It appears that Judon may have to look elsewhere.
“There’s no way I could imagine playing without [DK],” Carroll said.
Next up: Alabama Pro Day
Up next for coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ brain trust is Alabama Pro Day, which is scheduled to take place Wednesday . . . Any updates on quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski were put on hold Tuesday. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians left the NFL owners meetings on Monday because of a personal matter, so he did not speak to the media . . . Back in Massachusetts, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones visited the Boys & Girls Club of Metro South in Brockton. Jones surprised the location with a $100,000 donation.
Nicole Yang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow her on Twitter @nicolecyang.