FOXBOROUGH — Offensive tackle Trent Brown has agreed to a two-year deal to return to the New England Patriots.

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, on Monday confirmed the new contract, which will help the Patriots maintain some stability on the right side of their front five after trading right guard Shaq Mason to Tampa Bay.

Brown, 28, returned to New England this past season after two years with the Raiders, but he missed eight straight games in 2021 after suffering a calf injury in the Patriots’ season opener. He returned for the final nine games (including playoffs) at right tackle and ranked as the Patriots’ second-highest rated lineman. Mason had a rating of 86.3, followed by Brown at 78.3, according to Pro Football Focus.

With Brown back, third-year lineman Mike Onwenu appears to be the leading candidate to fill Mason’s spot beside him at right guard. Onwenu started the first four games at left guard in 2021.

Such a combination could be formidable, pairing the 6-foot-8, 380-pound Brown with the 6-foot-3, 350-pound Onwenu.

FREE-AGENT cornerback Malcolm Butler is back in New England for a free-agent workout with the Patriots, a source told the Boston Herald.

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Butler, 32, retired last year after signing with the Cardinals and hasn’t played since 2020. That season, he started every game for the Titans, posted career highs with four interceptions and 100 tackles. Prior to landing in Tennessee, he started his career with a four-year stint in New England, where in his last game he was famously and mysteriously benched for Super Bowl LII against the Eagles.

Over his seven-year career, Butler made one Pro Bowl and started 84 of 100 career regular-season games.With the Patriots, he won two Super Bowls and lost another. His goal-line interception to seal a Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seahawks remains one of the greatest plays in league history.

Butler recently worked out for the Texans and former Pats director of player personnel Nick Caserio. He could help fill a major roster hole at cornerback, where the Pats have lost J.C. Jackson to free agency and signed former Texan Terrance Mitchell. Currently, the Patriots have Mitchell, Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones, Myles Bryant Joejuan Williams, Shaun Wade and Justin Bethel on their depth chart.

JAMES WHITE’S 2021 season ended in September, but he still couldn’t even walk until the calendar started flipping to 2022.

The 30-year-old running back only got back on his feet two or three months ago, and his hip injury was so serious that White actually wondered whether he’d ever return to football.

“At first, you think you’re never going to be out there again,” White said on a Monday morning conference call.

But since then, White’s recovery has gone well, and last week he signed a two-year, $5 million deal to stay in New England. A fourth-round draft pick in 2014, White has only ever played for the Patriots. He’s been a captain for four straight seasons and though he was ready to play anywhere, Coach Bill Belichick’s unwavering confidence in him made a return to Foxborough easy.

“I was open to anything,” White said. “I didn’t really know what my free agency market was going to be like coming off this injury. Whether anybody would want to quote-unquote take a chance on me. But Bill had the confidence and wanted me back, so that was kind of important to me. To still be wanted after this is definitely something that helped me out a lot.”

“Being wanted after an injury like that is not highly likely, especially at the running back position. That’s just the way it’s been. So it was an easy decision for me. Bill is one of the greatest coaches of all time. We’ve built a great relationship over the years. For him to still have the confidence in me, it means a lot.”


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