The New England Patriots are looking to add depth to its secondary. The team had former Alabama star and long-time Cincinnati Bengals starter, Dre Kirkpatrick, for a free-agent visit on Thursday, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
According to Rapoport, the 31-year-old veteran was in Foxboro for a visit along with another former Bengal, Alex Redmond, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero.
Former #Bengals and #AZCardinals CB Dre Kirkpatrick is visiting the #Patriots today, source said. A potential landing spot for the former #Bama first-rounder. If there is one thing Bill Belichick loves, its ex-Bama stars…
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 13, 2021
Dre Kirkpatrick’s Career
During Kirkpatrick’s career, he has proven to be a solid but not spectacular cornerback.
He was drafted No. 17 overall in 2012 by the Bengals. Kirkpatrick has 13 career interceptions. Three of those picks came in 2020 when he tied a career-high in the category in his lone season with the Arizona Cardinals.
NBC Sports’ Phil A. Perry rationalized the Patriots’ interest in Kirkpatrick. He tweeted:
Patriots lost a veteran corner to free agency when Jason McCourty signed with the Dolphins. Kirkpatrick has good size (6-foot-1) and started 11 of 14 games for Arizona in 2020. Had 3 INTs and a rating when targeted of 80.5, per @, 13th among corners with at least 700 snaps.
Aside from Kirkpatrick’s rookie season and the 2019 campaign, he has proven to be durable and available for his teams. Those two seasons were the only ones during his career when he played in fewer than 13 games.
The Potential Fit With the Patriots
Many will point to the ongoing and obvious connection between Bill Belichick, the Patriots, and the Alabama program.
New England selected two former Crimson Tide stars in this year’s draft in quarterback Mac Jones and defensive tackle Christian Barmore. Their presence will only add to the long history of Crimson Tide players on the roster, which includes linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Anfernee Jennings.
Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal further outlined Kirkpatrick’s potential fit on the Patriots’ roster.
The Patriots could use another outside cornerback. Kirkpatrick started 11/14 games last year, finishing with 3 INT, 7 PD and 56 tackles.
For now, Fitzpatrick has only visited the Patriots, and no new deal was announced. However, based on the visit, it’s reasonable to conclude there is mutual interest. Furthermore, the Patriots must also be eyeing the cornerback spot as a position in need of an upgrade or depth.
Even if Kirkpatrick isn’t signed, it seems a safe bet the Patriots will ink a veteran at some point before training camp begins.
Patriots’ 2021 Schedule
Here is a look at the Patriots’ complete 2021 pre-season and regular season schedule.
- Week 1: vs. Washington Football Team — 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday, Aug. 12
- Week 2: at Philadelphia Eagles — 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday, Aug. 19
- Week 3: at New York Giants — 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 29
- Week 1: vs. Miami Dolphins — 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 12
- Week 2: at New York Jets — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 19
- Week 3: vs. New Orleans Saints — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 26
- Week 4: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 3
- Week 5: at Houston Texans — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 10
- Week 6: vs. Dallas Cowboys — 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 17
- Week 7: vs. New York Jets — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 24
- Week 8: at Los Angeles Chargers — 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 31
- Week 9: at Carolina Panthers — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 7
- Week 10: vs. Cleveland Browns — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 14
- Week 11: at Atlanta Falcons — 8:20 p.m. ET Thursday, Nov. 18
- Week 12: vs. Tennessee Titans — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 28
- Week 13: at Buffalo Bills — 8:15 p.m. ET Monday, Dec. 6
- Week 14: bye
- Week 15: at Indianapolis Colts — TBD
- Week 16: vs. Buffalo Bills — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Dec. 26
- Week 17: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Jan. 2
- Week 18: at Miami Dolphins — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Jan. 9