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Where Jon Bostic fits into the New England Patriots' defense

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots have acquired linebacker Jon Bostic from the Chicago Bears, pending a physical. Here are a few thoughts on the deal:

1. This trade is similar to how the Patriots acquired linebacker Akeem Ayers last season from the Titans. Ayers got caught in a scheme/regime change in Tennessee, just as Bostic did this year in Chicago, which switched from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4. Just as the Patriots brought out the best in Ayers last year, they'll hope to do the same with Bostic. The team's track record has been pretty solid in this area of late (e.g., Ayers, Jonathan Casillas, Keshawn Martin).

2. A personnel executive from an NFC team familiar with the Bears relayed the following thoughts on the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Bostic: "Good speed, good range as a tackler, pretty good in coverage, should help in the kicking game." The personnel executive noted that Bostic was productive in his first two seasons but hasn't played this year.

3. Bostic fell behind in the Bears’ offseason program because of back problems, according to ESPN Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson. Bostic later injured an ankle in the preseason and spent the first three weeks of the regular season as a game day inactive. Thus, it is important to note that the deal is still contingent on his passing a physical.

4. Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower are 1-2 on the off-the-line linebacker depth chart, and that is highly unlikely to change with Bostic's addition. Captain Jerod Mayo is the No. 3 option, followed by Jonathan Freeny. Mayo has been playing only in the base defense and goal-line packages this season, while Freeny's primary contributions come on special teams. So Bostic adds starting-level experience, youth and upside to the group behind Collins and Hightower. I don't necessarily see his addition affecting Mayo and Freeny. The Patriots will have to make a roster move to create space for Bostic, and the first place to look is their inactive list from this past Sunday.

5. Bostic is signed through 2016, which I think is part of the appeal of this trade for the Patriots with Hightower and Collins also having deals that expire after the '16 season (those will likely be big contracts to extend). If Mayo is to stay with the team beyond 2015, it's hard to imagine that happening on his current deal. So Bostic's addition helps layer the roster with the future in mind, as well. The Patriots obviously liked Bostic coming out of Florida in 2013, and that scouting report contributes to their making this move. Bill Belichick spent time at Florida prior to the 2013 draft and personally scouted Bostic.