The first free-agent domino for the New England Patriots has fallen in their favor.
The Pats and linebacker Harvey Langi have agreed to a contract extension, as was announced by his agent, Kenny Zuckerman, on Friday.
Langi’s deal is reportedly for one-year, for an amount near the veteran's minimum for a player of Langi’s experience. However, official details of the contract have yet to be confirmed.
Langi returned to New England for his second-tour of duty with the Patriots in the 2021 offseason. After an early exit during the Pats’ Week Seven victory over the New York Jets, Langi was placed on injured reserve with an MCL injury. Langi did return to practice to open the 21-day return window, but he was not activated. Through seven appearances for the Patriots in 2021, Langi recorded two tackles, playing 16 snaps on defense as a rotational depth option, playing off-the-ball, on the edge and in run-stoppage duty. He has also been a valuable contributor on special teams, primarily on the kicking units, for which he logged 98 snaps.
Throughout his career, Langi has triumphantly defied long odds. Less than one month after his NFL regular season debut, Langi and his wife, Cassidy were both seriously injured in an automobile accident. Langi suffered injuries to his head, neck, and back while his wife Cassidy broke both hips and multiple ribs. Shortly thereafter, Langi was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list due to the injuries, thus ending his season.
Once again, Harvey Langi faced long odds, both for recovery and for returning to action on the gridiron.
Following a failed comeback attempt with the Patriots in 2018 (the team released him at the conclusion of training camp), Langi signed with the New York Jets practice squad. In 2019, he was promoted to the team’s 53-man roster. During his two seasons with the main club, Langi played in 30 games, compiling 76 total tackles. When the Jets failed to tender him a contract, the 28-year-old returned to the Patriots on a one-year deal.
Langi earned his spot on the Patriots 2021 roster through a solid performance in training camp. In the Pats’ preseason opener against the Washington Football Team, he played significant minutes in both the first and second half. Langi compiled a team-leading nine total tackles. It was his tip of a Steven Montez-pass that set up Joejuan Williams’ interception in the fourth quarter. Despite some struggles when tackling in the open field, the 29-year-old is expected to compete for a depth spot at the position.
In addition to Langi, Matthew Judon, Kyle Van Noy, Josh Uche, Jahlani Tavai, Anfernee Jennings, Terez Hall, Raekwon McMillan, Ronnie Perkins and Cameron McGrone are all under contract for 2022. Linebackers Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, and Jamie Collins are all slated to hit free agency in March. As a result, New England’s positional depth chart at linebacker may look quite different in the upcoming season.
In the final analysis, the odds may be stacked against Harvey Langi in his pursuit of a roster spot in New England for 2022. Still, there may not be anyone (including his competition) that is as well-equipped to handle adversity. Langi has faced tough roads to success in the past. Whether or not he can do it again will be decided in the forthcoming spring and summer months.