FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Continuing their frenzy of personnel moves on Saturday, the New England Patriots acquired defensive end Cassius Marsh from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for fifth- and seventh-round draft choices, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.
The seventh-round pick traded by the Patriots had been acquired by them on Friday in a different deal with the Seahawks. In that trade, the Patriots shipped cornerback Justin Coleman to the Seahawks for a seventh-round pick.
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Marsh entered the NFL as a 2014 fourth-round draft choice out of UCLA with the Seahawks. After appearing in just five games as a rookie, he played in every game over the last two years, with one start on defense. He recorded three sacks in 2016.
Marsh made significant contributions on special teams, as he was one of the Seahawks’ better players on fourth down.
This year, he projected as a backup defensive end in both base and nickel on Seattle’s deep line, but also is considered to have some positional versatility. The Seahawks had experimented with Marsh as an outside linebacker in their 4-3 scheme in the past. Marsh also has rushed from an interior position in sub packages at times.
In early August, Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril had noted Marsh’s improvement.
“Cassius is taking major strides,” he said at the time. “He’s playing great ball all around from playing the run, playing the pass. I actually worked with him a lot this offseason in Hawaii and at the Von Miller summit, and it’s cool to see him taking what he’s picked up in those camps and coming here and putting on a show. I think he’s going to have a heck of a year.”
Similarly, in early August, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett saw Marsh rising.
“This is a guy who has worked with me all this summer and to see his progression as a player, his conditioning, his work ethic and his mindset for the game this year, I think Cassius is going to be a guy who is very exciting and it is going to be a really great year,” Bennett said.
With the Patriots playing sub defense more than 80 percent of the time, and with a need to bolster the front seven when factoring in the mix between edge players and off-the-line linebackers, Marsh was a player the Patriots obviously were targeting because they parted with two draft picks to acquire him, albeit later-rounders.
He enters the last year of his contract in 2017.