On Thursday the San Diego Chargers released defensive lineman Luis Castillo. Before the Chargers signed Castillo to a one-year contract extension this offseason, the veteran visited several teams which included the New England Patriots. One of the NFL rumors this week is that the Patriots are considering signing Castillo.
Castillo was drafted by the Chargers in 2005 out of Northwestern. After careful consideration, the 28-year old free agent decided to return to the franchise that drafted him. Castillo played well for San Diego in their 3-4 defense as a defensive end but has the skills to play in a 4-3 defense as well. However, at just under 300 pounds he has the size and ability to play defensive tackle as well.
If the Patriots do decide to sign the veteran lineman, it would be to compete for a spot during training camp. The Patriots right now probably have five defensive lineman which will make the team regardless of training camp. Those five are returning pro bowler Vince Wilfork, 2012 NFL draft picks Chandler Jones and Jake Bequette, and new acquisitions Jonathan Fanene and Trevor Scott. Castillo would be competing with the other candidates for the remaining spots.
Aside from playing well during training camp to beat out other candidates, Castillo would have to prove to the Patriots that he has completed the full recovery of a broken leg which ended his 2011 season almost before it began. Castillo suffered the severe injury late in the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
This is one of many NFL rumors that involve the Patriots as they look to add some veteran depth to what is still a rather young defense. Castillo’s contract with the Chargers was valued at $1 million for one year. Being released, coming off an injury, and the value of his latest contract means that signing Castillo would not cost the Patriots much as he would not command a high salary. With the Patriots history of signing inexpensive veteran free agents to improve depth, this is a signing that could come soon.