The Patriots signed linebacker Bobby Carpenter to a one-year contract the team announced Thursday. Carpenter spent the last two last seasons playing for the Detroit Lions, making a career-high three starts last season.
The Patriots will likely look to use him in a coverage role similar to how Dane Fletcher was used at times last season. However, at inside linebacker he will have to beat out Fletcher for that role on passing downs. Carpenter will need to have a good camp and preseason if he wants to have a chance at making the 53-man roster at a position where Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, and Fletcher should all be locks to stick around.
Carpenter was a highly touted player heading into the 2006 NFL Draft after a stellar career at Ohio State where he was a contributor all four years. He finished his career at Ohio State with 191 tackles and 14.5 sacks, as well as two appearances on the All-Big Ten second-team his final seasons. His accomplishments lead to him being the 18th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys.
However, his stay in Dallas was not what either party was looking for, starting just three games in his four seasons in Dallas. In the 2010 offseason the Cowboys cut their losses and traded him to the St. Louis Rams for another draft disappointment in tackle Alex Barron. Carpenter did not make final cuts with the Rams and was scooped up two days later by the Miami Dolphins and Bill Parcells, who he played for in Dallas.
Miami released Carpenter in October, after playing in just five games. Once again he was signed two days later, this time by the Detroit Lions. He spent the rest of the 2010 season and all of the 2011 season with them. During that 2011 season he had an interception return for a touchdown against the Cowboys in a come from behind victory for the Lions, the highlight of his career thus far.