The Patriots turned their attention — finally, some would say — to defense on Friday, re-signing cornerback Kyle Arrington and adding veteran free agent safety Adrian Wilson.
In addition, they hosted free agent defensive ends John Abraham, most recently with the Falcons, and Dwight Freeney, who has spent his entire 11-year career with the Colts.
Arrington’s contract is for four years and a reported $16 million, with $8.5 million guaranteed. He will receive $7.5 million in the first year. That’s a nice deal for the 26-year-old, who flourished last season when he was moved to the slot after the acquisition of Aqib Talib.
Arrington wanted to stay with the Patriots, and the team had expressed a desire early on to keep him. Arrington took to Twitter soon after signing his new deal: “Thankful and Blessed for another opportunity. Extremely grateful for all the support from the New England community and beyond. #Patsnation”
In addition to his new contract, Arrington and his wife, VaShonda, are expecting their first child any day.
Arrington has been with the Patriots since November 2009, after not catching on with the Eagles, who signed him as a rookie free agent in 2008, and the Buccaneers.
He was promoted to the Patriots’ 53-man roster on Nov. 8, 2009, after then-Browns coach Eric Mangini tried to sign him off the practice squad. He has played every game since, and in 2011 tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with seven.
Wilson, listed at 6 feet 3 inches and 230 pounds, is a 12-year veteran who had spent his entire career with the Cardinals before being released this week in a salary-cap move. His deal with the Patriots is for three years, according to multiple reports.
The 33-year-old played in 15 games last season, but often wasn’t on the field in nickel situations. He recorded 39 tackles, three sacks, one interception, five pass breakups, and a forced fumble.
Devin McCourty will likely remain at safety, and Tavon Wilson may get more opportunities in his second season, but Adrian Wilson is a more physical presence and will provide depth.
As for Abraham and Freeney, neither had agreed to a contract with the Patriots by Friday night, but either could provide a needed pass rusher. When Chandler Jones was sidelined last season because of sprained ankles, New England did not have a player to fill that role adequately opposite Rob Ninkovich.
The Patriots previously signed Armond Armstead and Jason Vega, both of whom spent last year in the Canadian Football League, as potential pass rushers.