An experienced defensive tackle has reportedly agreed to join the New England Patriots for next season.
Marcus Stroud reached an agreement with the Patriots for a two-year deal Tuesday, reported ESPN's Adam Schefter. Stroud has played the last three seasons with fellow AFC East team the Buffalo Bills, but was released by the team on February 16th.
Prior to his Bills' tenure, Stroud was a 2001 first round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Stroud was one of few veterans on a youthful Bills defense last season, and had 49 tackles, a few off his 2009 season total of 56. He had 3 sacks in 2010 - a career normal for him, who hasn't equaled his career high of 6.5 sacks since he set it in 2002. Stroud was let go in the midst of a four year deal with the Bills that would have had him making $10 million over the next two years.
As SBNation NFL editor Joel Thorman points out, the Patriots' move to lock up Stroud comes at a point where fellow teams are reluctant or unable to make any player moves due to the current contract dispute between players and owners. Says Thorman:
"If a lockout or work stoppage goes late into the summer, it could be months until Stroud gets a playbook and works with the coaching staff. Because of that timing, many teams are shying away from signing players."