Connect with us

Patriots Analysis

Analyzing the New England Patriots Headed to Free Agency (Updated)



New England Patriots LB Josh Uche

Monday marks the beginning of the legal tampering period of NFL free agency. It lasts for 52 hours, from noon ET on March 11 to 4 PM ET on March 13. Once the clock turns 4:00 PM ET on Wednesday, the 2024 NFL League Year officially begins and free agents are free to sign with other teams. The New England Patriots have 15 players set to test the market. This list does not include players the team waived after the season (Lawrence Guy Sr., Adrian Phillips, etc).

A breakdown of the New England Patriots 2024 free agent class as they prepare to be legally tampered with.

(Note: This article was originally published on March 10, 2024. It will be updated as players sign.)

Mike Onwenu

Onwenu should be the first issue of business for New England. He is a quality player who plays a position of need. He has expressed a desire to stay in New England and the Patriots braintrust has stated they hope to retain him. Mike Onwenu likely receives the highest deal of any free agent offensive lineman on the market. He has proven durable, versatile, and productive. However, the Patriots have also added some depth to the offensive line, which seems a contingency plan in the event of an Onwenu exit.

Update: Mike Onwenu has reportedly agreed to a three-year contract to stay in New England.

Kyle Dugger

New England has already designated Kyle Dugger as a transition player. This means Dugger can sign the one-year transition contract to stay with the Patriots, agree to a long-term deal, or sign a contract with another team that the Patriots would have the option of matching. New England can still rescind the transition tag as well. A long-term deal is still the stated goal of the franchise and would be best for all parties.

Update: Kyle Dugger has reportedly agreed to a four-year contract to stay in New England.

Read More: NFL Free Agents Still on the Market for New England

Josh Uche

Uche’s stock took a hit in 2023 when his sack total fell from 11.5 to 3.0. Not having Matthew Judon to occupy offenses’ attention was a factor. Josh Uche never appeared fully healthy either, though he only missed two games. He is largely valued as a pass-rushing specialist and he was not able to get to the quarterback nearly enough in 2023. Josh Uche is very familiar with Jerod Mayo and DeMarcus Covington, and vice versa, so like the other linebackers on this list there should be good sense for what both parties are signing up for.

Update: Josh Uche has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal to stay in New England.  

Kendrick Bourne

Kendrick Bourne was the New England Patriots leading receiver last season when his season ended prematurely after an ACL tear ended his season in Week 8. Bourne has made it very clear he’d love to stay in New England and the Patriots have reportedly already offered him a contract (terms unknown). Bourne has stated he is on schedule to be ready to not miss any of the 2024 season.

Update: Kendrick Bourne has reportedly agreed to a three-year contract to stay in New England.

Anfernee Jennings

Jennings was one of the Patriots most improved players last season. He began the season as a healthy scratch but finished it as a valuable member of a solid defensive unit. Before the 2023 season, Jennings had played 30 career games. He amassed 47 tackles (25 solo) and one tackle for loss. Last year he was active for the final 15 games and registered 66 tackles (49 solo) and 14 TFL. Jennings picked a great season to have a great season. He should be in high demand for many teams, including New England.

Update: Anfernee Jennings has reportedly agreed to a three-year contract to stay in New England.

Ezekiel Elliott

There were not many bright spots on the New England Patriots offense last season. Running back Ezekiel Elliott was one of them though. He played hard, which is not something everybody appeared to be doing. Elliott rushed for 642 yards. He caught 51 passes for 313 yards. Elliott scored five touchdowns on the year. Elliott may opt to parlay his solid season into joining a contender (perhaps even a return to Dallas) but New England could certainly do worse than bringing back Elliott to join Rhamondre Stevenson in the backfield.

Update: Ezekiel Elliot has reportedly agreed to a contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

Mack Wilson Sr.

The former five-star high school prospect was a valuable contributor for the Patriots in 2023. Mack Wilson Sr. is one of the players who sang the praises of Jerod Mayo, his positional coach last season. He expressed how much he would love to be part of the Patriots’ new era under their new head coach. However, he also stated he plans to test the market and ultimately do what is best for him and his family. Wilson is a core special teams player who also contributed on defense.

Update: Mack Wilson Sr. has reportedly agreed to a three-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals.

Myles Bryant

Bryant is a versatile defensive back. He is a cornerback who also saw snaps at safety last season. Slot cornerback is still his primary position. Myles Bryant has occasionally caught the ire of New England Patriots fans, but 2023 was his best season. He is a solid depth cornerback. He might not be high on the Patriots’ priority list for free agency, but he is certainly capable of being on an NFL roster and is already familiar with the system. Bryant finished 2023 with career highs in defensive snaps (851) and tackles (65).

Update: Myles Bryant. has reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with the Houston Texans.

Mike Gesicki

Gesicki was a bit of a disappointment in New England last season. He was brought in as a pass-catching tight end but finished the season with only 29 receptions for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Gesicki had not put up lower numbers in any of those categories since his rookie year in 2018. Despite Hunter Henry agreeing to a three-year contract to stay in New England, the Patriots still need to add to the tight end room. The new offensive staff featured the tight end position prominently in Cleveland, so they’ll need to decide if bringing back Gesicki or looking to upgrade the position is their best option.

Update: Mike Gesicki has reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Pharaoh Brown

Another tight end from last season, Brown exceeded expectations for New England. This was not particularly difficult since the expectations were practically non-existent. Pharaoh Brown lived up to his reputation of being very solid as a blocker. Where he surprised people was providing production as a receiver. He finished with 13 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown. If the new staff prefers having a blocking tight end, as the old regime did, Brown is a solid candidate to return.

Update: Pharaoh Brown has reportedly agreed to a contract with the Seattle Seahawks.

Jalen Mills

The veteran transitioned from cornerback to safety in 2023. Even when the Patriots were shorthanded at cornerback Jalen Mills did not receive any playing time there. That is indicative that he is exclusively a safety (at least in New England) moving forward. Mills also does not play special teams, which is a valuable asset for a backup, at least during the Belichick Era. It seems a long shot for him to return to New England in 2024, though stranger things have happened. His safeties coach is back and Adrian Phillips has been released, so there will need to be safety depth added in some fashion.

Update: Jalen Mills has reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with the New York Giants.

Jalen Reagor

The former first-round pick didn’t do much as a wide receiver (seven receptions, 138 yards) but did contribute as a kickoff returner. Jalen Reagor averaged 31.6 yards on seven returns, including a 98-yard touchdown return to open the game against the Buffalo Bills. Is that enough to earn Reagor a return to New England? He is unlikely to receive a guaranteed deal anywhere, so a return to the Patriots with a shot to earn a spot on the team is still possible.

Update: Jalen Reagor. has reportedly agreed to a one-year contract to remain in New England.

Riley Reiff

Expected to fight for the starting right tackle spot, Riley Reiff struggled in camp and was moved to right guard. He struggled just to get on the field, however, playing just one game all season before returning to injured reserve. Retirement seems more likely than a return for Reiff at this point. That is especially true after the recent signings of Chukwuma Okorafor and Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

Cody Davis

It is hard to tell how much of a role core special teams players will have with the New England Patriots in the post-Belichick Era. Even if the old regime was in place, Davis could have had a tough time finding work in Foxboro. He began the year on PUP, was moved to IR, but ended up appearing in 11 games. Davis tied a career-low with five tackles on the season. He has only played one defensive snap in four seasons with the Patriots, so the idea of a “special teams only” player (beyond Brenden Schooler) might be tested here.

Update: Cody Davis announced his retirement from the NFL.

Trent Brown

Last but not least is Trent Brown. He was one of the New England Patriots’ brightest spots in the first half of the 2023 season. He was one of the most disappointing players in the second half. Brown will be one of the most coveted offensive tackles in free agency. New England needs a starting left tackle. This combination should make Trent Brown a high priority on paper. However, being publicly critical of the team, reportedly announcing he was headed elsewhere with four games to play, and appearing to “quietly quit” on the Patriots makes it difficult to endorse a return. If creating a better culture in the building is as important as Jerod Mayo indicates, Trent Brown is a risky choice to have as a part of the new era in New England.

Update: Trent Brown has reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.