After several defections from Foxboro this week including Tom Brady, Patriots fans got a bit of good news on Thursday when the team signed veteran safety Adrian Phillips to a two year deal worth a maximum of $7.5 million dollars. $3 million of it is guaranteed.
S Adrian Phillips contract w/ Patriots:
Signing bonus: $1.5 million
Roster: $500k ($31,250k per game)
Base: $2.25m ($500k g'teed)
ANALYSIS: 18 tackles in last 2 games vs. NE; Bill Belichick never forgets
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 20, 2020
Phillips was an all-pro in 2018 and has been one of the more underrated players in the league the last two years. He has registered 18 tackles in his last two games versus the Patriots. I am sure that factored into Bill Belichick’s decision to target him in free agency.
When you look at the job description of a safety in the Patriots defense, they have to be able to perform multiple tasks. Phillips can do that. He is a three level player who can line up as the eighth man in the box, drop into a hook, curl zone or cover a tight end and slot underneath in man coverage.
At 5-11 210, Phillips plays a physical style and reminds me a lot of another former Chargers and Patriots safety, Rodney Harrison. Harrison was more athletic over the top as a deep half safety but Phillips has enough athleticism and ball skills to play in Cover 2.
Phillips is your classic Belichick signing. Belichick waited for the market to play out and when a player he liked was still available, he signed him to a cheaper deal. Phillips was featured last week as one of the top twenty players we felt the Patriots would target in free agency.
Wanted to take a day to celebrate with my wife and fam before I said anything..Thank you @Chargers and an even bigger than you to the fans that supported along the way. @Patriots & #PatsNation I’m ready to work. Let’s get it
— Adrian Phillips (@Phillips_17) March 20, 2020
With the Phillips signing, the Patriots could now use the 23rd pick in the first round of the draft on another position of need. With Alabama’s Xavier McKinney and LSU’s Grant Delpit more than likely still on the board at that point, the Patriots could have gone safety with their first pick. Now they don’t have to. They could either fill another need or move the pick.