Monday, March 20, 2023

Patriots reportedly signing veteran OT Riley Reiff, expect him to start


Chicago Bears offensive tackle Riley Reiff (71) lines up during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Atlanta. The Atlanta Falcons won 27-24. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)



PUBLISHED: March 15, 2023 at 10:07 a.m. | UPDATED: March 15, 2023 at 10:20 a.m.


The Patriots are expected to sign free-agent offensive tackle Riley Reiff, according to ESPN.

Reiff, an 11-year veteran, started 10 games last season at right tackle with the Bears but can play both sides. The Patriots expect him to win a starting job in training camp, per The Athletic.

Reiff started his career at left tackle and has enjoyed previous stints in Detroit (2012-16), Minnesota (’17-20), Cincinnati (2021) and Chicago (2022). Last season, Reiff allowed pressure on 6.1% of his pass-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus, and posted an average run-blocking grade. In New England, he joins Trent Brown and the newly-signed Calvin Anderson as the top contenders to start at offensive tackle next season.

The Patriots had a revolving door at right tackle last year between Isaiah Wynn, Yodny Cajuste and Conor McDermott. Reiff might also serve as a swing tackle if Brown, Anderson and/or a draft pick win the starting jobs. The 34-year-old is a former captain who also crossed paths with Pats interior lineman James Ferentz in college Iowa.

Before reaching terms with Reiff, the Pats re-signed McDermott and tendered Cajuste, a restricted free agent.

In a postseason press conference, Bears GM Ryan Poles raved about Reiff’s impact on his young team.

“That guy did more than a lot of people think for that O-line room and the mentality,” Poles said. “When I first got here, I wasn’t fired up on how we protected the quarterback in terms of getting ’em off the ground and that attitude and that physicality. He’s a reason why we ran the ball so well. We finished. We had an attitude. We had an identity and that’s a lot because of guys like him.”

Riley played only one snap in the Patriots’ 33-14 loss to Chicago last October, but started the team’s final 10 games. He also started all 12 games he played in with the Bengals in 2021.

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