According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots are meeting with linebacker Gerald Hodges in Foxboro on Wednesday. The former fourth-round pick out of Penn State spent the first two years of his career with the Vikings before being traded to the 49ers during the 2015 season.
Former Vikings and 49ers’ LB Gerald Hodges visited Colts today, scheduled to visit Patriots tomorrow, Jaguars on Thursday, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 16, 2017
Still only 26 years old, Hodges started 12 games for the 49ers last year, appearing in 15. Hodges racked up 52 tackles, and 28 assisted, to go along with three sacks and two interceptions. He also was credited with one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
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Hodges became a key cog for the 49ers run defense in his first full year with the team. According to Pro Football Focus, Hodges graded out as the 21st ranked linebacker in the NFL. He was also one of their 10 sleeper free agents coming into the offseason.
Here is PFF’s rundown of Hodges:
Players with a very small sample size of play are some of the riskiest free agents around, but they can also provide major upgrades for minor investments if the sample size is small enough to keep them under the radar of most teams. Gerald Hodges played 584 snaps for the 49ers this past season. It was actually his third straight season with between 500 and 600 snaps, but was the first in which he put it all together instead of just flashing one facet of his game. Hodges became a major factor in the run game for the 49ers, notched three sacks and nine total pressures on the blitz, and improved his play in coverage – dropping his passer rating allowed by more than 25 points over his previous career high. Hodges only really has one season of quality play to his name, but that season points to significant upside if a team can replicate that form. Source.
For the Patriots, Hodges would fill a small need at the inside linebacker position alongside Dont’a Hightower. He would add quality depth to a strong position group that has Shea Mclellin, Kyle Van Noy, and Elandon Roberts joining Hightower.
The Patriots presumably will have competition for Hodges as he has already visited with the Colts. He is set to meet with the Jaguars on Thursday, so if the Patriots want Hodges, a deal could be made in the near future.