The New England Patriots may have had their season ended prematurely with a disappointing loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game but the front office is already deep into their offseason planning. As Super Bowl 50 takes the headlines nationally, Bill Belichick and his team of coaches and front office are getting ready for free agency and the NFL Draft.
Beyond scouting potential free agents and draft picks, the Patriots have internal scouting to do as they look ahead to 2016. With a number of potential free agents and key players entering the final year of their current contracts, the Patriots front office has a lot of work to do to keep their core intact on both sides of the ball. It may be another offseason with difficult decisions to be made regarding some popular players.
Last offseason, the Super Bowl 49 champions let future Hall-of-Fame cornerback Darrelle Revis, fan favorite and defensive captain Vince Wilfork, valuable mid-season acquisitions linebackers Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers, and cornerbacks Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington, and Alfonzo Dennard all walk out of Foxborough. However, instead of the defense falling apart, it actually improved in 2015 despite injuries to key players throughout the season.
Running back LeGarrette Blount and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks headline the free agents in New England. This offseason the Patriots have veteran linebacker Jerod Mayo, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, and wide receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell with high cap numbers that exceed their projected 2016 contribution.
However, it is not the free agents that are the biggest question marks in New England. It is how they set-up next offseason that may be the main concern: Their valuable core of young defensive players such as Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Malcolm Butler, and Jabaal Sheard are all entering the last year of their current contract with the Patriots.
Going forward this offseason, here is a look at each group going forward with what the Patriots need to do to get back to the Super Bowl next season. Read on to see what the New England Patriots need to do about their current free agents, their overpaid veterans, and their potential future free agents:
Next: CURRENT FREE AGENTS