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Patriots visited with linebacker Andrew Gachkar

The New England Patriots hosted free-agent linebacker Andrew Gachkar on a visit Sunday, but were ultimately trumped by the Dallas Cowboys, who agreed to terms with him on a two-year deal.

Gachkar, who entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft choice of the San Diego Chargers in 2011, spent the first four years of his career in San Diego. At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, he is considered a solid special-teamer (16 tackles in 2014), and he's filled in as a starter on defense in eight games over the last two seasons. Gachkar's durability is notable, as he's only missed one game over four years.

Gachkar might have caught the eye of the Patriots in the team's Dec. 7 game against San Diego this past season, as he played an expanded role on defense (27 snaps) and finished with six tackles and one pass defended.

The fifth-year pro out of Missouri told friends that the Patriots were classy on his visit. Family ties were one factor that led him to pick Dallas' offer over New England's.

We'll now see if that sparks the Patriots to look elsewhere for linebacker depth.