Patriots sign DL Ricky Jean Francois

The New England Patriots have signed veteran defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, the team announced.

Jean Francois, who had two stints with the Green Bay Packers earlier this season, adds depth to a defensive line that is dealing with an injury to Malcolm Brown, a top contributor for the group. The 30-year-old Jean Francois has played in six games this season, logging two tackles. He has previous stops in his career with San Francisco, Indianapolis and Washington, totaling 155 tackles and 12 sacks.

Jean Francois joins a defensive line that has relied upon a rotation including Brown, veterans Lawrence Guy and Alan Branch, and rookie Adam Butler. If Brown can't play Sunday against the Denver Broncos, Jean Francois could be called upon into game action.

In order to accommodate Jean Francois on the 53-man roster, the Patriots have placed LB Dont'a Hightower on injured reserve the team said. This was an expected outcome after his shoulder injury. His season is now officially over.

Linebacker Shea McClellin, meanwhile, is not expected to be activated from injured reserve by Thursday's deadline. He was placed on IR in September with an undisclosed injury and had been designated to return by the team.