The Patriots announced eight free-agent signings tonight, and one name from the group particularly stands out: Vinny Ciurciu.
The Boston College alum enters his seventh NFL season, making him the most experienced player in the group of signings. He's primarily a special teamer, and he has a background with first-year Patriots special teams coach Scott O'Brien.
Ciurciu, 29, played for the Carolina Panthers from 2003-2006. O'Brien was the Panthers' special teams coach from 1999-2004.
The Patriots' core special teams group has undergone some change this year, most notably with captain Larry Izzo not returning. Ciurciu (6-0, 235) will compete for a special teams type of roster spot, and could possibly provide depth at inside linebacker in the base 3-4 defense.
Overall, these signings are longer shots to earn a roster spot, but as noted earlier today, they give the Patriots a chance to maximize opportunities with the 80-man roster limit.