Akins, 26, finished his fourth year in the NFL as a safety and special teams player for the Browns. At the end of the season, Akins became an unrestricted free agent. Terms of the deal with the Patriots have not been disclosed.
The Browns, strapped for cap space and more interested in re-signing fellow safety Earl Little, did not pursue Akins with any intensity after the end of last season.
Akins spent most of his career with the Green Bay Packers, although he also spent some time in Dallas before winding up with the Cleveland Browns. Akins has yet to get an interception in his pro career but has been a steady player on special teams, making 25 special teams stops with the Browns in 2002.