This is an opportunity and I am so thankful!!! Whatever it takes!!! See you soon Boston. GO PATS— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) March 16, 2016
The Patriots made the signing after trading defensive end Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals earlier on Tuesday. Long will help fill the hole left by Jones, provided he can stay healthy.
The 30-year-old Long, who was drafted out of Virginia by the Los Angeles Rams in 2008 and released in February, has played in just 18 games over the last two seasons and recorded just four sacks. He didn't miss a game in the previous four years and had 13 sacks in 2011 and 11.5 in 2012. He has 54.5 career sacks in eight seasons in the NFL.
Long signed a four-year, $48.2 million extension with the Rams in 2012, which was set to expire following the 2016 season. He would have earned $11.75 million from the Rams had he not been released and count as $14.25 million against the salary cap.
"I just want to personally and humbly thank the city of St. Louis again for all your support over 8 years. I love y'all so much for sticking with me through the ups and downs," Long wrote on his Instagram account after being released. "I also want to thank our LA fans, and although I may never join you in SoCal, just know that I'll always appreciate you.
"Bottom line is: this is a production business. No excuses, the last two years have been sh*t. It's been painful to experience because I care deeply about my performance and my responsibility to my teammates. Before the last two years I'm very proud of what I was able to accomplish in St. Louis. I'm not surprised, but it doesn't make it any easier to leave your family."
Long, the son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long and brother of Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle, was released by the Rams along with tight end Jared Cook and linebacker James Laurinaitis. In January he wrote on Twitter that he accomplished a dream of his after being interviewed by the local news while buying a ticket for the $1.5 billion Powerball.