Matthew Slater returning to Patriots on two-year deal

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots special-teams captain Matthew Slater has reached agreement on a two-year deal to return to the club, according to a league source.

The two-year deal gives Slater, who entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice of the Patriots in 2008, a chance to spend his career with just one team. That is something his father, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, did by playing 20 years with the Rams.

Matthew Slater took a free-agent visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, according to ESPN's Field Yates. That seemed to reflect that Slater's return to New England was uncertain. Then the club traded for Cordarrelle Patterson, who could fill some of the same coverage roles that Slater has on special teams.

Slater, who in 2017 won the NFL's Bart Starr Award -- given to the player who exemplifies character and leadership -- is one of the Patriots' inspirational and spiritual leaders. He's also a perennial Pro Bowl player, having been selected to play in the game in each of the past seven seasons. That ties Steve Tasker for the most special teams Pro Bowl nods in NFL history.

He had seven special-teams tackles in nine regular-season games last season, often commanding double-team blocks from the opposition.