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Well stocked at linebacker, Patriots deal Jon Bostic for conditional 7th-rounder

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In the aftermath of the 2016 NFL draft, linebacker Jon Bostic was viewed as one of the “losers” as a result of the New England Patriots' selections. His hold on a 2016 roster spot already tenuous entering the draft, the club then selected two players at the position -- Kamu Grugier-Hill and Elandon Roberts, both in the sixth round.

Furthermore, as noted in a Monday analysis of the team's 90-man roster, the Patriots' numbers at the linebacker position were cited as being a bit rich, with that position identified as one that could be trimmed with roster juggling in mind.

Thus, it comes as little surprise that the team dealt Bostic to the Detroit Lions on Monday. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots will receive a conditional 2017 seventh-round draft pick.

That means that Bostic, a fourth-year player, likely has to make the Lions’ 53-man roster, at minimum, for the Patriots to receive the seventh-round selection. That would be welcome news for the Patriots, who currently are without a seventh-round pick next year, as they had traded it to the Lions (under their prior front-office regime) for tight end Michael Williams.

Bostic entered the NFL as a second-round draft choice of the Bears in 2013, but quickly fell out of favor and was dealt to the Patriots on Sept. 29, 2015 for a sixth-round draft choice. He appeared in 11 games for the Patriots (one start), finishing with one tackle and two special-teams tackles. His impact was limited and the fact he wasn’t viewed as a top special-teams player lessened his value. When the Patriots signed free agent Shea McClellin to a three-year contract this offseason, Bostic’s chances to stick with the team took a further hit.

The Patriots are expected to line up Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins and McClellin as their top linebackers, and backups such as Jonathan Freeny offer more value because of their role in the kicking game. The addition of Grugier-Hill and Roberts, as well as free-agent signing Ramon Humber (a top special-teams player), is also part of the snapshot at the position.

This is the first deal between former Patriots director of pro personnel Bob Quinn, now in his first season as Lions general manager, and his former club.

In addition to trading Bostic, the Patriots signed defensive lineman Anthony Johnson, the LSU alum who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2014 with the Dolphins. The 6-foot-2, 317-pound Johnson played in seven games as a rookie (2 tackles, one fumble recovery) and spent part of last season on Washington’s practice squad.