The New England Patriots agreed to terms with free agent defensive lineman Louis Leonard on Tuesday. That news, first reported by Scout.com’s Ravens Insider Aaron Wilson, was followed by the team’s official announcement on Wednesday. To make room for Leonard, the Patriots placed CB Jonathan Wilhite on season-ending injured reserve.
The addition of Leonard will give the Patriots some more beef up front. The 6-foot-4, 325-pound defender reportedly had a workout for New England on Saturday.
Leonard was originally signed by the San Diego Chargers in 2007 as an undrafted rookie free agent. The Fresno State product spent time with the St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers.
The move adds another body to a relatively thin defensive line rotation missing second year defender Myron Pryor who has been nursing a back injury the past five weeks and Mike Wright who has been out with a concussion for three weeks. Rookies Kyle Love and Brandon Deaderick have filled in for Pryor and Wright, but the New England pass rush remains a work in progress.
Recently signed Eric Moore, managed a sack, forced fumble and four tackles in the Patriots win over the Chicago Bears. Gerard Warren and Ron Brace were the only other defensive linemen to record a tackle. Brace was forced to leave the game early.
Wilhite, 26, missed the past four games with a hip injury. The 5-fot-11, 185-pound defender recorded 24 tackles and a pair of passes defended in nine games. Wilhite was selected by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. The Auburn product has appeared in 39 games (13 starts) sunce joining the organization. Second year pro Darius Butler has moved into Wilhite's role of nickle cornerback for the Patriots.