The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Kearse has played for the Carolina Panthers (2011-12), Dallas Cowboys (2013) and Wasington Redskins (2014-15), and has primarily been a reserve. He has played in 35 career regular-season games, and his eight starts came with the Panthers over his first two seasons.
Kearse adds depth at defensive tackle in New England, where the team returns starters Malcom Brown and Alan Branch but is prepared for the possibility of losing Akiem Hicks in free agency. Hicks has visits lined up with the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.
Another backup, Sealver Siliga, wasn't tendered a contract by the Patriots as a restricted free agent.
Kearse, who attended Alabama A&M, entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft choice of the Miami Dolphins in 2011.