When the Patriots signed James Ihedigbo as a free agent last summer, they probably didn’t expect him to play as much defense as he did last season.
Ihedigbo is a safety, but most of his playing time with the Jets came on special teams and he profiled to the same role as a member of the Patriots. The safety spot next to Patrick Chung was a problem for the team all year, though, and Ihedigbo got plenty of chances to show his stuff in that spot. Ihedigbo started 12 times and wound up playing nearly 70 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
It wasn’t a rousing success, but the Patriots have re-signed Ihedigbo all the same. The Patriots announced the move on Friday afternoon, although the idea is likely to put the original plan in motion this season. Steve Gregory has settled into the starting spot alongside Chung, something the Patriots hope won’t change over the course of the season.
Ihedigbo had shoulder surgery after the season and wouldn’t have been ready to participate in the team’s offseason activities. He should be totally ready to go when the team reports to training camp next month.