After losing running back Dion Lewis, cornerback Malcolm Butler, wide receiver Danny Amendola, and offensive tackle Nate Solder to free agency, the New England Patriots could also lose wide receiver/special teams ace Matthew Slater if they won’t act quickly and sign him to a fresh deal. According to Field Yates of ESPN, Slater is scheduled to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers, per a source. Slater, one of the Patriots’ team captains, remains unsigned three days into free agency. The Patriots have signed other special teams players to contract extension, including Nate Ebner, Brandon Bolden, and Brandon King.

Slater, a seven-time Pro Bowler, and a five-time All-Pro was a key player in the Patriots’ previous two Super Bowl rings, but he missed 10 games in the past two seasons with hamstring and foot injuries.

Patriots hope to sign Slater

When Slater got injured last season, Jonathan Jones and Johnson Bademosi played returner on the punt team. However, the Patriots lost Bademosi to the Houston Texans in free agency while Jones is still recovering from a foot injury. A fifth-round pick by the Patriots in the 2008 NFL Draft, Slater has 134 tackles, one forced fumble, and one 46-yard reception in his career. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported that the Patriots are optimistic to sign Slater to a new contract.

The Patriots need Slater in the locker room as he is a proven leader and a good teammate. Since 2011, he’s been one of the Patriots’ team captains. Losing Slater would be a big blow to the Patriots, who have been hounded by rumors of a rift within the team.

Patriots sign safety to an extension

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network Insider, the Patriots are expected to sign safety Patrick Chung to a short-term deal.

The 30-year-old Chung is scheduled to turn free-agent after the 2019 season. A 34th overall pick by the Patriots in the 2009 NFL Draft, Chung played his first four NFL seasons in New England before he signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. He returned to the Patriots the next year, missing just one regular season game since.

Last season, Chung tallied 84 tackles and a pick in 11 starts. Last season, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick hailed Chung as one of the best players in the NFL. “We’re lucky we have him. He’s an outstanding player in all the things that he does,” said Belichick, who have Duron Harmon, Devin McCourty and Chung as safeties. In 125 career games, Chung has 643 tackles, 4.0 sacks, and 10 interceptions.