September 28, 2021

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Patriots’ long list of players set to be free…

3 min read
Patriots' long list of players set to be free...

The Patriots have a lot of decisions to make this offseason with guys like Tom Braady, Devin McCourty, and Jamie Collins all heading into free agency. Who should they try to keep on the squad?

The Patriots have a long list of players who are set to be free agents at the end of this season and are going to have some difficult decisions to make. Generally speaking, players who play for New England are highly sought after when the team succeeds, and given that the Patriots have won three Super Bowls in five years, it’ safe to assume some of these guys are going to get paid elsewhere.

The list of players heading into free agency is:

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Devin McCourty
  3. Cody Kessler
  4. Matthew Slater
  5. Ben Watson
  6. Ted Karras
  7. Marshall Newhouse
  8. Joe Thuney
  9. James Ferentz
  10. Nick Folk
  11. Kyle Van Noy
  12. Jamie Collins
  13. Elandon Roberts
  14. Danny Shelton
  15. Shalique Calhoun
  16. Nate Ebner
  17. Justin Bethel

Of that list, 12 players are starters on offense, defense, or special teams. This is a huge portion of New England’s starters and most of them will likely find themselves on other teams next year. So who is most important to try to keep on the team for next season?

First and foremost, I reject any rumor or speculation that Tom Brady is going to ever wear another uniform in the NFL. He’s in his 19th season, he’s won six Super Bowls, has hopes for seven, and he is the most beloved athlete in the New England area. At 42 years old, there is no reason for him to go try to go start fresh. Brady should be priority number one simply because he’s earned it.

Looking beyond TB12 though, three guys that I think Bill Belichick should do everything he can to

hold onto are Joe Thuney, Kyle Van Noy, and Phillip Dorsett.  Joe Thuney is a veteran on the offensive line, a group that has struggled this season and Ted Karras is most likely going to get offers that New England simply cannot match, so there is no reason to think he is going to stay when David Andrews returns next season. Kyle Van Noy has emerged as one of the cornerstone players of this defense over the last few seasons and is becoming a fan-favorite with his personality as well as his level of play on the field. Van Noy struggled early in his career when he was a member of the Detroit Lions but has really found a home with the Patriots and I believe he would prefer to remain a part of this team if he gets an offer he feels he is worth. Phillip Dorsett is one of the offense’s most seasoned receivers, and he’s only 26 years old. He has a lot of playoff and Super Bowl experience, does not miss a lot of time due to injury, and is the ultimate professional. He is a valuable weapon on the field, and a great veteran for young players to look up to in that offense.

One guy I did not add to the priority list is Devin McCourty. D-Mac has been discussing retirement for the last few seasons and although he is having a career year, I would not be too shocked to see him hang up the cleats once this season comes to an end. There are plenty of other guys on that list that as fans we would want to see on the team beyond this season, but there is only so much money New England can spend, so we are going to see a lot of these guys in different uniforms next season.

Patriots’ long list of players set to be free agents in 2020

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