3. Inside linebacker
As you well know, the Patriots boast the best pair of starting inside linebackers in the NFL. Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins are outstanding football players, and the Patriots’ defense is simply one of the best in the NFL when both of those guys are on the field. However, both guys are a bit injury-prone (especially Hightower), so the Patriots need to bolster the depth chart at inside linebacker.
With the future of Jerod Mayo up in the air as a result of his age, declining play and salary cap situation ($11.4 million cap hit in 2016), the Patriots need to consider their options. Jonathan Freeny, Jon Bostic, Darius Fleming and Dekoda Watson are the other backups at linebacker. The Patriots should take a gander into the free agent linebacker market to see if they can improve depth at the position.
Maybe the Patriots will consider pillaging the New York Jets of Jamari Lattimore or Demario Davis. Either of those guys would be intriguing options in New England behind Hightower and Collins.
Of course, we can’t forget about Dane Fletcher, who never really got going in 2015 due to injuries. He’s about to hit free agency himself, so the Patriots will have to make a decision on him sooner rather than later.
Next: 2. Cornerback