FOXBOROUGH, Mass. >> Cornerback Eric Rowe added some depth to New England’s secondary and performed well after he was traded from the Eagles last year. Now he will have to work his way up the depth chart again.
Malcolm Butler, once a Super Bowl savior, is back for his fourth season in New England after a somewhat tumultuous offseason that included a brief flirtation with the New Orleans Saints as a restricted free agent. He will be paired with Stephon Gilmore, whom the Patriots added as a free agent on a five-year, $65 million deal. Together they could be one of the best cornerback pairs in the league.
Rowe was caught off guard by the signing of Gilmore.
“It surprised me because, I think I was on vacation,” Rowe said. “I was like whoa, that threw me off. But it’s just like another challenge in a way. (Gilmore) got here, he’s a great teammate, he’s a real cool guy. Now he’s just someone to work with now. I mean, how it affects me, yeah, it kind of puts me down on depth chartwise, but my mindset is to just come out here and just keep making plays. Really, that’s just how I have fun.”
Rowe, a second-round (47th overall) pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, was acquired by the Patriots in a September trade. He appeared in nine regular season games, with seven starts — three at cornerback, four at defensive back — credited with 25 tackles, an interception and eight passes defensed. Rowe appeared in three playoff games, including Super Bowl LI, with 11 tackles, an interception and eight passes defensed
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