Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia is eyeing a reunion with some members of his defensive line during his tenure as defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, including Alan Branch and Ricky Jean Francois. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network Insider, Patricia and the Lions are working on a deal with Jean Francois, who was a part of the Patriots’ defensive line late in the season. The 31-year-old Jean Francois was cut four times by three different teams in 2017 before he finally settled with the Patriots, seeing action in six regular-season games and three playoff outings before becoming a free agent.

The Green Bay Packers released Jean Francois on November 1, before the Patriots signed him to the 53-man roster on November 7. A seventh-round pick by San Francisco in the 2009 NFL Draft, Jean Francois played for the 49ers from 2009 to 2012. After that, he moved to the Indianapolis Colts, where he played from 2013 to 2014. He played two years with the Washington Redskins from 2015 to 2016 before signing with the Packers in 2017.

Patricia also eyeing Alan Branch

Patricia is also eyeing Branch, who was released by the Patriots to create much-needed salary cap room. If the Patriots picked up Branch’s contract option, he was set to occupy $4.55 million of the team’s salary cap for 2018. In 12 games last season, Branch tallied 12 tackles, but he did not play in the postseason, including Super Bowl LII, after he was overtaken in the depth chart by Jean Francois.

In his four-year stint with the Patriots, Branch tallied 74 tackles, 25 sacks, six pass breakups and two forced fumbles. Branch and Jean Francois would be familiar faces for Patricia, who was hired as the Lions’ head coach last month after six seasons as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator.

Bill Belichick, Patricia reunited in Georgia

Patricia and Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick were reunited in Athens, Georgia as they were both present during Georgia’s pro day. Just like old times, Belichick and Patricia subjected several of Georgia’s defensive players to punishing drills. Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith is expected to be taken early in the 2018 NFL Draft, so Belichick has no chance of acquiring him.

However, Belichick could select linebacker Lorenzo Carter, who could drop to the second round. Belichick, who is also eyeing a running back to replace Dion Lewis, might take Sony Michel and Nick Chubb in the second or third round.