Yesterday was hard for the New England Patriots. Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler both signed with the Tennessee Titans for monster deals. Losing Danny Amendola to the Miami Dolphins proved to be a stunner as well. With the imminent loss of Nate Solder, Patriots fans are itching for good news. Last night a small piece of good news was delivered: The Patriots will re-sign core special teamer Nate Ebner to a two-year deal.
Patriots reached agreement with special teams standout Nate Ebner on a 2-year deal, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2018
New England Patriots Re-Sign Nate Ebner
Ebner was placed on injured reserve after suffering a season-ending knee injury against the Dolphins last year. He played a total of nine games last season but led the team in special teams tackles. Ebner has been an important piece in the Patriots special teams game. Bill Belichick‘s fondness for special teams is well-known, and the coach had high praise for the player before the team’s eventual win in Super Bowl XLIX.
“His development has really been outstanding,” he said, “I would probably put him […] in the top-five percent all time of players that I’ve coached, from where they were in college to how they grew in the NFL.”
To that end, Ebner has been a stealthy force for the Patriots. He’s recorded 74 tackles in six seasons with New England, including one forced fumble and recovery. The two-year-deal displays the team’s lasting confidence in Ebner, whose age and injury history would typically be concerning for other teams.
Special teams are our specialty
New England’s offense has taken some hits this week, but their special teams unit seems to be safe. Early reports tell us that the Patriots are optimistic about their odds of re-signing other core special teamer Matthew Slater.
Slater and Ebner are proven necessities for New England’s special teams unit. Like Ebner, Slater’s impact on gameplay is less noticeable but just as important. The Patriots have consistently relied on their special teams unit to save valuable yardage on punt returns and kickoffs.