Patriots free agency: 6 things we hope happen
1. Above all else, think about 2017
More than anything, the Patriots must make sure that their long-term salary cap outlook his healthy after 2016 free agency. As you have probably heard by now, Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan are all set to hit free agency in 2017. The Patriots simply can’t have all those guys hit enter the open market this time next year.
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Out of the guys on that list, Jones is probably the most expendable. Recently, we pondered the thought of the Patriots trading him for a 2016 first-rounder. You see, linebacker talent like Hightower and Collins don’t come around very often, but elite defensive ends are easier to come by. That being said, the Patriots would certainly rather not be in the position of choosing favorites, which is why they must operate with 2017 in mind this offseason.
As for Butler and Ryan, well, the Patriots are fortunate to have a pair of sure-fire starters at cornerback. They shouldn’t put that in jeopardy.
Next: Ranking the Top 22 Free Agency Targets for the Pats
Stay tuned here on Musket Fire for coverage on every twist and turn in the Patriots’ offseason.