ERFA defensive back Raymond Ventrone is headed back to Foxboro for one more season according to Adam Caplan, senior NFL reporter for Scout.com. Caplan confirmed that Ventrone signed a one-year deal, although no additional details were available. Ventrone's return, while expected, adds a solid special teams player to New England's roster while bolstering the secondary with a player who is familiar with the system.
Ventrone, 25, was originally signed by New England as an undrafted free agent out of Villanova on April 28, 2005. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound defender was signed to the team's practice squad where he remained a valuable member of scout team. In 2006, Ventrone participated in NFL Europe where he suffered a season ending injury. The Patriots placed him on IR for 2006. Former Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, who was familiar with Ventrone from their days in New England, brought Ventrone to the New York Jets for training camp. After a short stint on the Jets practice squad, the Jets released him in September. New England signed the Pittsburgh native to the active roster where he earned his first career NFL Start against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Patriots have four safeties on the roster not-including the re-signing of Ventrone. Rodney Harrison and James Sanders return along with Willie Andrews and Tank Williams. Williams recently joined the club as an unrestricted free agent. Defensive back Brandon Meriweather has also been listed on the team roster as a safety, although he could be considered more of a defensive back with experience playing at the corner position.
The Patriots have three remaining exclusive rights free agents: Linebackers Pierre Woods and Eric Alexander as well as offensive tackle Wesley Britt.