Undermanned at cornerback a year ago, the New England Patriots plan to be overstocked at that key position in 2005, and added a veteran performer Tuesday afternoon by signing former Pittsburgh Steelers starter Chad Scott.
An eight-year veteran and former first-round draft pick, Scott was released by Pittsburgh in late February, in part for salary cap reasons. Scott was due a $4.297 million base salary for 2005 and, with his performance having slipped considerably over the past few years, the cost to keep him around as a backup was exorbitant.
Details of the contract Scott signed with the defending Super Bowl champions were not yet available.
Scott, 30, is typical of the kind of veteran player the Patriots often attempt to resurrect by placing him in a winning environment and creating a specific role. Scott becomes the second veteran cornerback added by the Patriots, who earlier this offseason acquired former Arizona Cardinals starter Duane Starks in a trade.
New England was forced to jerry-rig at cornerback in 2004 when both its starters, Ty Law and Tyrone Poole, were lost to injuries. The Patriots starters over the second half of the season were second-year veteran Asante Samuel and rookie Randall Gay, who was an undrafted college free agent. The team also had to resort to using wide receiver Troy Brown in the nickle package during the year.
A knee injury suffered in late October limited Scott to a career-low seven appearances in 2004. When he recovered from the injury, he couldn't regain his starting job from veteran journeyman Willie Williams. He finished the year with 29 tackles and one interception.
A starter for virtually his entire career, Scott has played in 91 games, starting in all but three of them, and has 430 tackles, 19 interceptions and 87 passes defensed. The former University of Maryland star was the Steelers' first-round choice in the 1997 draft.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.