New England Patriots: The case against re-signing Malcom Brown

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11: Defensive tackle Malcom Brown
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11: Defensive tackle Malcom Brown /

The New England Patriots will have some work to do along the defensive line, including a decision on whether or not to bring back Malcom Brown.

Slotted as the next Vince Wilfork, fourth-year defensive tackle Malcom Brown has had an up and down career with the New England Patriots.  A two-time Super Bowl champion, he now enters NFL free agency with a chance to cash in.

It is highly unlikely the 6-foot-2, 320-pound Texas product cashes in with the Patriots.

As a player who has done everything the coaches have asked him to do, Brown has had his moments of success, but for the most part has been a disappointment.  With a defensive tackle depth chart of Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton and Adam Butler, Brown really had his chance to shine in a contract season.

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He really didn’t hurt himself, but he didn’t stand out either as an impact defensive lineman clogging up on the middle.  With 39 combined tackles and no sacks, Malcom Brown actually saw his production decline from the 2017 season in which he combined for 49 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

But, as we know, sometimes the numbers don’t say everything.

When asked about Brown’s impact on the team back in December, teammate Patrick Chung called him the most underrated players on defense.


"“Because he’s good man,” Chung said, via Patriots Wire. “He’s smart and he hustles, and no one really sees it. No one sees the d-line. Everyone’s about wide receivers and safeties and corners and all this stuff. So, no one really pays attention to the d-line. Our d-line’s been hustling their butts off and we see that and it’s getting better and hopefully we can continue doing that. They’re doing a very good job.”"

But, does Bill Belichick feel the same way?

This offseason will tell if his “underrated” value is worth keeping around.

The case against re-signing

Malcom Brown has had four years to shine in New England and simply hasn’t done it.  He has had flashes but has found himself in Bill Belichick’s doghouse a couple of times which has resulted in decreased playing time over the last couple of seasons.

While he did play extremely well when he lined up next to Alan Branch a couple of seasons ago, he has not grown into the type of impact defensive line the team envisioned when they drafted him out of the University of Texas.

With veteran defensive end Lawrence Guy returning, as well as Adam Butler, the New England Patriots can focus their resources on signing another veteran at a good price and using some of their draft choices on defensive lineman.

In other words, the only way Bill Belichick brings back Malcom Brown is on a team friendly prove it type one-year deal.

Potential landing spots

Any team looking for defensive tackle help will take a look at the former No. 1 draft pick.  Besides the possibility of returning to the New England Patriots on a cheaper deal, two teams with head coaches familiar with Brown stand out.

Those two teams are obviously Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions and Brian Flores’ Miami Dolphins.  Not only are both coaches familiar with Brown’s talent, they know how to utilize his talents.  For Malcom Brown to be able to finally flourish in his NFL career, going to a team with familiarity with an opportunity for increased playing time may be what he needs.

Next. New England Patriots: The case for re-signing Cordarrelle Patterson. dark

It will be interesting to see how the free agency market at defensive tackle drives the demand for a player like Brown, especially with teams trending back towards the ground attack.