Patriots free agent reset: Breaking down who New England has to make tough calls on


While all everyone wants to talk about is Tom Brady, the Patriots have a number of free agents to-be besides the 42-year-old quarterback.

New England has until Monday to be the only team these players can negotiate with. The legal tampering window begins next Monday and then free agency officially begins next Wednesday when players can sign with any team they want.

The Patriots have roughly $30 million in cap space, which isn’t a lot, so they will need to be selective when it comes to re-signing players.

Here’s a complete list of the Patriots’ unrestricted free agents as we stand today.

QB Tom Brady- The quarterback has the potential to be a free agent for the first time in his career after not wanting a multi-year extension last summer, saying he wanted to test the market and see what was out there. Brady is coming off a below average season, but some of that could be pointed to who he was working with as pass catchers.

S Devin McCourty- McCourty is coming off one of his better seasons at the age of 32. He finished with five interceptions, his most since 2012, and continued his strong play as one of the better safeties in the league. The last time he was a free agent Bill Belichick let him test the market, but maybe it’s different this time around with his twin brother Jason already locked in with the team for 2020.

LB Kyle Van Noy- The former Detroit Lion made a name for himself in 3.5 years with the Patriots after just being a special teams player the first few years of his career. Van Noy is coming off a season where he recorded a career-high 6.5 sacks. He likely will have a number of suitors, but it’s worth wondering if those teams will be able to get the same production out of him.

ST Matthew Slater- For the second time in three offseasons, Slater is a free agent. The last time he actually visited the Steelers, but it’s hard to imagine that happening this time around. He’s coming off a terrific season and seems likely to return to New England given not only his value on the field, but maybe more importantly off it.

WR Phillip Dorsett- The 26-year-old has proven he can be a solid No. 4 receiver, but not much more than that. He finished with 29 catches for 397 yards and five touchdowns last season in 13 games. A change in scenery might be best for the Univ. of Miami product, who is one of the best locker room guys on the team.

ST Nate Ebner- It’s hard to believe Ebner is 31 years old, but the former rugby player is a free agent once again. It’s clear Belichick has a great deal of respect for him, but in order for him to return he might need to take a pay cut from the $2.8 million he made in 2019.

LB Jamie Collins- Collins got his career back on track last year in his second stint with the Patriots, which makes him an interesting case over the next few weeks. Will teams be wary of how things went in Cleveland, or will they just look at what he’s done with the Patriots? If the offers are there, he seems likely to leave.

DT Danny Shelton- Shelton made the most of his second season with the Patriots as he came back with a much different attitude than he had in 2018. The former first-round pick had three of his 4.5 career sacks last season, which could make him have a pretty good sized market.

K Nick Folk- Folk was one of the few kickers the Patriots signed last year following Stephen Gostkowski going on season-ending injured reserve. The 35-year-old seems unlikely to return.

OL Marshall Newhouse- The veteran swing tackle was forced into much more action than anticipated last season with injuries to Marcus Cannon and then Isaiah Wynn. He likely will hit the open market, as the Patriots have some younger internal candidates to step up on the offensive line.

OL Joe Thuney- The 27-year-old is set to enter free agency for the first time in his career as one of the best guards available. He could get one of the biggest contracts among offensive lineman. Because of this, Thuney is a long-shot to remain in New England.

TE Benjamin Watson- The 39-year-old said after the Wild Card loss to the Titans that he would be retiring after 15 seasons.

LB Shilique Calhoun- Calhoun played in 16 games in 2019 and finished with nine tackles. He certainly won’t be a top priority, but if still available down the road he could potentially return.

OL Ted Karras- Doing a decent job filling in at center for David Andrews this past season created a market for the 26-year-old. Being a free agent for the first time in his career, Karras could get an offer the Patriots would not be able to come close to matching.

LB Elandon Roberts- The first-time captain is also a free agent for the first time in his career. It will be interesting to see what kind of market he will have and that will determine if he stays in New England or not.

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