NFL Rumors: Patriots Agree to Contract with Ex-Raiders Safety Obi Melifonwu

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2018

Oakland Raiders' Obi Melifonwu (20) during NFL football practice in Napa, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The New England Patriots and former Oakland Raiders safety Obi Melifonwu reached an agreement on a free-agent contract Monday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter provided the update from Sean Stellato, the defender's agent. Terms of the signing were not immediately released.

Melifonwu, a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft, was released by the Raiders off injured reserve last month. He was limited to just five games during his rookie season because of injury, including one that required December hip surgery, and he went back on IR in August.

He made seven combined tackles last year.

Oakland head coach Jon Gruden said last month the selection of Melifonwu was a chief reason the team wasn't able to select fellow safety Derwin James, who's off to a terrific start for the Los Angeles Chargers, in the 2018 draft.

"We wanted to take Derwin James. Everybody wanted Derwin James," Gruden told reporters. "We had unfortunately drafted a safety [Karl Joseph] in the first round two years ago, and we drafted another safety [Melifonwu] in the second round [in 2017]."

Melifonwu will attempt to make the most of his fresh start in New England.

He'll compete with Duron Harmon and Nate Ebner for reserve snaps at safety behind the starting tandem of Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung once he's cleared to return.

It's unclear whether he'll be available for the Patriots' Week 10 road game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. New England has a bye in Week 11, which could give the 24-year-old London native more time to get up to full speed with his new team.