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Second Look: 2024 New England Patriots Offense

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New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) runs against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL Football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Near the halfway point of the New England Patriots 2023 season, Patriots Football Now took a first look at the 2024 roster. Fans were already looking forward to the 2024 NFL Draft, and possible free agent targets. But to determine what next season’s team needs, it is important to first see what the Patriots already have.

With the 2023 campaign officially over, this is a second look at the 2024 New England Patriots roster, starting with the offense. This roster includes players under the team’s control for next season. Hopefully this makes it easier to predict positions the Patriots should target to improve. Do not mistake this for a prediction or projection, it is simply where things stand of of right now. Special thanks to Miguel Benzan (better known as @patscap on X) for help clarifying some contracts.

And with that, a second look at the 2024 New England Patriots offense:

Quarterbacks (3)

Bailey Zappe, Mac Jones, Nathan Rourke

Oddly enough, Nathan Rourke might be the quarterback I’d be least surprised remaining with the Patriots next season. Based on their lack of a working relationship with one another (even if it’s ‘cordial’) bringing back both Bailey Zappe and Mac Jones doesn’t make a ton of sense. Furthermore, with a likely rookie poised to lead the offense next season, having a strong supporting QB room in place is of prime importance.

Despite being a first round selection, Jones might be better equipped to be a backup in the NFL. He sat behind Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama, so he did play that role successfully while in college. Would he be willing and able to do it with an NFL franchise for whom he was recently a starter and a captain? Furthermore, is either Zappe or Jones worth considering as a bridge option at this point? Again, this possibility seems stronger for Jones (if Josh McDaniels is brought back as offensive coordinator) than it would be with Zappe. But ultimately a rookie with a veteran comfortable in a backup role (Jacoby Brissett) might be the best path forward for everybody.

Running Backs (4)

Rhamondre Stevenson, JaMycal Hasty, Kevin Harris, Ke”Shaun Vaughn

Barring a major setback in his recovery, Stevenson will return to Foxboro as RB1 in 2024. However, Ezekiel Elliott is set to hit free agency, leaving a void in the Patriots backfield.

JaMycal Hasty was signed to the 53-man roster following the Indianapolis game, but only saw two snaps on offense in the two games he was activated for. Hasty could fill the third-down receiving back role that the Patriots successfully employed for so long under Bill Belichick. Kevin Harris showed some flashed in his second season, rushing for a touchdown against the Chiefs. Ke’Shaun Vaughn was signed to a future contract off the practice squad after coming over from Tampa Bay during the year.

Wide Receivers (6)

DeMario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton, Kayshon Boutte, T.J. Luther

Douglas is the lone lock to be back in the wide receiver room. He led the team in receiving yards (561) on his way to winning the Mike Haynes Award as the Patriots Rookie of the Year.

Kendrick Bourne and Jalen Reagor head to free agency. Both Smith-Schuster and Parker, based on their salary-to-production ratio, are candidates to be cut or traded before next season. New England will try to renegotiate their current deals at the very least. Miguel Benzan has looked at various salary cap scenarios for both JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker.

Thornton and Boutte are young players with upside. Both have spent time in the coaching staff’s doghouse, so will a change of coaching staff (if there is one on offense) do them good? Thornton has also had trouble staying healthy. As a 2022 second-round pick, it is tough to give up on him this quickly. Boutte fought to get on the field in 2023 as a rookie. He has enough potential to be worth keeping around. T.J. Luther was on the practice squad and did not appear in any NFL games.

Tight Ends (1)

La’Michael Pettway

All three of the top tight ends on the New England Patriots 53-man roster this past season are set to become free agents: Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki, and Pharaoh Brown. Matt Sokol, who spent most of the season on the practice squad, in headed to free agency as well.

That leaves La’Michael Pettway as the lone holdover. Obviously, this is a position that will need to be addressed in a meaningful way. It appears the Patriots prefered having a well-rounded tight end (Henry), a pass-catcher (Gesicki), and a blocker (Brown). Will that change under the 2024 coaching staff? It will be difficult to try and replace all these roles, especially since the current group might represent the best free agent option for each designation.

Offensive Tackles (4)

Calvin Anderson, Vederian Lowe, Conor McDermott, Andrew Stueber

This unit is more notable for who is not. here. LT Trent Brown and RT Mike Onwenu are both set to hit free agency, and it is far from a certainty either returns to Foxboro. Brown is all but guaranteed to exit. If that’s the case, help is needed.

Calvin Anderson’s NFL future is undetermined. He missed most of training camp with an undisclosed illness and then went back on injured reserve with an undisclosed illness. He was not effective when he was active. Vederian Lowe played in 11 games, starting eight. If he is in the starting lineup next season, there will need to be some major improvements his play.

Conor McDermott played in six games, starting five, before winding up on injured reserve. He is clearly more comfortable (and effective) at right tackle. It is not unreasonable to see him return in a reserve role as a third tackle. Stueber, who spent the season on the practice squad, was a seventh-round pick out of Michigan in 2022. He has yet to make his NFL debut. Sidy Sow (see below) can play tackle as well, though looked more comfortable playing guard.

Interior Offensive Linemen (5)

David Andrews, Cole Strange, Sidy Sow, Atonio Mafi, Jake Andrews

This group is the most stable on the New England offense by far. It is easy to imagine this entire unit returning intac. David Andrews played 100% of the offensive snaps this season and is a team leader. Unless he opts for retirement, he should be starting at center for the Patriots once again in 2024. Jake Andrews served as his understudy as a rookie.

Cole Strange had the beginning and end of his season ruined by injuries. The Patriots are obviously hoping he’ll be able to make a full recovery before next season. If so, Strange and Sow should slot in nicely as the starting guards, with Mafi a reserve option.

The unit is far from perfect, but there are too many holes on the roster elsewhere to spend draft capital, or salary cap space on attempts to upgrade. That doesn’t mean the New England Patriots won’t try and upgrade, but it should not be the focus. As seen from the other positions on here, there is plenty of attention needed elsewhere.

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