Terrence Brooks was brought in to New England with little expectations, but his recent play has earned him more playing time on defense.
The Patriots‘ head coach Bill Belichick has always had a knack for finding players who have been undervalued and bringing them in to get the most out of them. He is a tremendous evaluator and knows how to put players in situations that allow them to utilize their skill sets in order to excel. His latest example of this is safety, Terrence Brooks.
Brooks’s stats do not jump off the page at you when you look at them, but Belichick brought him in at the perfect time, and he has proven to be a very valuable asset to the team. He gets most of his playing time on special teams this year, but if he continues to progress and remains a member of the team beyond this season, Brooks may very well find himself in the starting strong safety position.
That position has been filled by Patrick Chung since 2009 when he was drafted by New England, except for 2013 in which he spent a single season with the Eagles before returning the the Patriots. Chung has been a huge part of the Patriots’ defense for many years and is regularly one of the leading tacklers on the team. Although as of late, Chung has struggled to stay healthy and his production has taken a tremendous dip this season due to his inability to stay healthy. Beyond that, Chung still has a pending drug charge that dates back to June of this year that he still has to appear in court for.
Patrick Chung is currently 32 years old and is under contract with the Patriots until 2022, but his struggles to stay healthy may land him on the trade block sooner rather than later. The fact that their is a player below him on the depth chart who is steadily improving and showing his worth for way less money even strengthens the possibility.
Terrence Brooks had a breakout game two weeks ago against the Philadelphia Eagles in which he recorded seven tackles, two quarterback hits, and two passes defended on just 35 total defensive snaps played. He also saw the field in the game against the Cowboys after Chung left the game with a re-aggrevated heel injury. He is becoming the next man up when Chung can’t stay on the field. Brooks is under contract with New England until 2021 and is making less than $900,000 a year as opposed to Chung’s $2.5 million per year.
Patrick Chung has played in some huge games for the Patriots and has been a big part of their recent success, but he is suffering from the wear-and-tear of extended seasons every season, and is starting to feel the effects. Terrence Brooks is 27 years old and is fairly fresh because he has not really had a sustained starting role since he entered the NFL. I’m not advocating for Chung to be replaced by Brooks, but Belichick is infamous for letting go of players a year too soon instead of a year too late, and their is a case to be made to move on. I can guarantee Belichick and the defensive coaching staff will have this conversation in the offseason.