On the course of the 2008 season, the New England Patriots defense was surprisingly ranked behind only one team in long passes allowed (more than 40 yards), with 12, beating only the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In light of that, the well-respected people in New England's front office quickly ran to fix this problem, drafting safety Patrick Chung and cornerback Darius Butler, both in the second round, besides signing free-agents CBs Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden from the Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions, respectively.
Now the Patriots have reached a two-year contract agreement with free agent safety Brandon McGowan, according to John Clayton of ESPN.
The 5'11", 207-pound McGowan is considered a physical player. The former Maine Black Bear was limited to two games last season by an ankle injury.
By signing a high profile rookie in Chung, and a young player at 25 years old in McGowan, the return of veteran Rodney Harrison, scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, seems more and more unlikely.
Harrison, 36, would enter his 16th season in the NFL, six of which spent with the Patriots, having made the travel to the Super Bowl three times, while winning the ring twice.