The New England Patriots plan to add another special teamer, an indication that they are planning to move on from All-Pro gunner Matthew Slater, who recently had a visit with the Pittsburgh Steelers. After acquiring wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson via trade with the Oakland Raiders, the Patriots are eyeing another special teamer, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Wilson said the Patriots are planning to sign former Buffalo Bills special teams ace Marcus Easley. Patterson and Easley both have experience playing Slater’s role as gunner on the punt team.

The Patriots plan to keep Slater on the team, but they are having a hard time agreeing to a deal. According to Field Yates of ESPN, Slater recently visited the Steelers as he explores other options after remaining unsigned days into free agency. A seven-time Pro Bowler and a five-time All-Pro selection, Slater was instrumental in the Patriots’ previous two Super Bowl runs.

Patriots eyeing ex-Bills special teamer

The 30-year-old Easley hasn’t played the last two years after dislocating his kneecap and breaking his knee in 2015. A fourth-round pick by the Bills in 2010, Easley has 50 career tackles, leading the NFL in special teams tackles with 22 in 2013. Easley also had three career catches for 71 yards and returned seven kicks for 171 yards.

In the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine, Easley ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds and finished the 3-cone in 6.94 seconds. He also tallied a 34-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 3-inch broad jump. However, the Patriots will determine if Easley’s athleticism has returned since suffering the injury before signing him to a deal.

Patriots trade for Patterson

According to, the Patriots shipped a fifth-round pick to the Raiders for Patterson and a sixth-round pick. A first-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2013 NFL Draft, the 27-year-old Patterson caught 31 passes for 309 yards and had 13 carries for 121 yards last season with the Raiders.

A two-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro as a kick returner, Patterson has had 153 career kick returns for 4,613 yards and five scores. In his five seasons with the Vikings and the Raiders, Patterson caught 163 passes for 1,625 yards and seven touchdowns. Patterson is also a versatile wideout, carrying the ball 44 times for 454 yards and six touchdowns in his career. In a previous interview, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talked about Patterson, calling him an explosive player. “Patterson — he plays in the backfield, he plays in the receiver positions,” Belichick said.