New England Patriots Free Agency: What’s Next?
By Hal Bent
CB E.J. Gaines, CB Rashaan Melvin, CB Tramon Williams, and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
New England appeared to be a player in the free agency market at cornerback after losing starting cornerback Malcolm Butler. However, the Patriots made a move at the position trading with Cleveland for former Tennessee cornerback Jason McCourty. Jason is the twin of starting safety Devin McCourty and the brothers are reunited for the first time in the NFL joining the undrafted free agent Hollister twins in New England.
Belichick and the front office were likely unimpressed with this free agent group remaining at cornerback:
Gaines was excellent with Buffalo last season, but has had significant problems staying healthy and missed 26 games over the past three seasons.
Williams is 35-years old and as well as he played last season is not expected to repeat that performance in 2018.
Melvin was actually in New England in 2015 and has blossomed in Indianapolis. The fact there is little interest in him shows that the Patriots remember how he played while a Patriot.
Rodgers-Cromartie has had a great career but was terrible in 2017 at age 31 in New York with the Giants. He is at the age where cornerbacks rarely bounce back.
McCourty is in the same class as this group and helps the locker room by adding another veteran leader to the secondary. Expect the Patriots to bring in some late round draft picks or undrafted free agents at cornerback and leave this group as is.