The Patriots bolstered their depleted safety corps, added some depth to their special teams and brought on a player from the rival Jets Friday night . . . all in one fell swoop.
The team signed hard-hitting free agent safety James Ihedigbo, a graduate of Amherst Regional High School and the University of Massachusetts who joined the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2007. He was a key contributor as a backup in Rex Ryan's secondary, setting a career high with three sacks last season, and was second on the Jets with 27 special-teams tackles.
Ihedigbo, 27, was a favorite of Ryan and special teams coach Mike Westhoff, but -- despite early indications that the team wanted to re-sign him -- wasn't pursued in free agency by New York when the Jets re-signed Eric Smith and Brodney Pool, and added free agent DaJuan Morgan to bolster the safety spot, which includes Jim Leonhard and Emanuel Cook.
The Patriots' safety corps has been depleted by injuries to James Sanders and Bret Lockett. They had only three healthysafeties -- Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung, and Sergio Brown -- onthe roster.
Ihedigbo announced the news on Twitter, telling his followers: "Thanks to jetsfans for all the love an support greatly appreciate it's on to a new chapter.....I'm Officially a New England Patriot!!!!!!" The Patriots confirmed the signing later Friday evening.