Dec 7, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) gestures after the Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers 23-14 at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The New England Patriots have 16 unrestricted free agents, and their number one priority this offseason should be more about retention, rather than going out and making additions from the open pool. There are a number of tough decisions the Patriots will have to make, so today, I’m going to give you my opinion on what they should do with all 16 players.
CB Darrelle Revis: Re-Sign
This is obvious. The biggest reason New England’s defense made a jump this year was because of Revis, and they absolutely need to bring him back in 2015. He is still the best cover corner in the game, and with him in the fold, the Pats can play aggressive man coverage, which allows them to play like an elite defense. Hopefully New England can work out a long-term deal with Revis.
S Devin McCourty: Re-Sign
In terms of how the Patriots value each free agent, McCourty is probably at the top of the list. He has been with the Patriots since 2010, he is a great leader, he does things the right way, and on top of it all, he is arguably the best free safety in the game. He keeps everything in front of him on defense, which is (aside from Revis) the top reason the Patriots have improved in pass defense over the last two seasons. The two sides may not come to a long-term agreement this offseason, but the franchise tag is likely.
OG Dan Connolly: Let Go
This is an interesting situation for the Pats. On the one hand, upgrading the interior of the offensive line is a must this offseason, but at the same time, losing a captain like Connolly without any guaranteed backup plan is risky. In terms of individual play, Connolly was probably the worst starting offensive lineman for the Patriots in 2014, and while his leadership intangibles are excellent, his on-field play leaves much to be desired.