Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Source: Pats, Slater finalizing deal
The New England Patriots are in the process of finalizing an agreement to keep Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater, a source tells ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton.
Terms of the deal weren’t available. The source said Slater is expected to get the deal done by Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Slater, who entered the league as a fifth-round draft choice of the Patriots in 2008, was one of the team's captains last season. The son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jackie Slater, he has been a jack of all trades for the club -- lining up at receiver at times (1 career catch), while also playing safety.
But solid special teams play is where the 6-foot-0, 200-pound Slater makes his biggest mark. He's played in 59 of a possible 64 regular-season games over the last four seasons, emerging into a Larry Izzo-type leadership role on special teams for the club.
"He has got a passion for it. He is fast, he's big, he's physical," Patriots special teams coach Scott O'Brien said last August. "And he's learning as he goes. He's learning to be able to recognize quicker so his reaction becomes quicker, which gets him in the best spot he possibly can. Again, that comes with experience too. There's soundness to the madness in coverage."
Slater was considered a contractual priority for the Patriots entering free agency, and the interest in his return was mutual.