Our preview of the New England Patriots defensive players heading into 2018 free agency.
The New England Patriots have some work to do this offseason if they are to return to the Super Bowl next year. Now that the NFL Free Agency period is officially open as of the 14th of March, (although one could be forgiven for thinking it opened a few days ago) we take a look at the second half of the Patriots roster covering defense and special teams.
Will the Patriots move on from any more players before the draft? MusketFire.com investigates.
42 – Keionta Davis – Staying
Davis was on the NFI list all season in 2017. He is an interesting prospect that Bill Belichick personally worked out during the draft process last season. Unfortunately, Davis had a bulging disc in his neck, which resulted in him going undrafted. He has two more years left on his contract, but his cap hit is minimal, so as long as he is fit and healthy he will be given a chance to win a roster spot.
55 – Eric Lee – Staying
The Patriots were Eric Lee’s third team in 2017. One could be forgiven for thinking that Lee wouldn’t last long on the roster when he was signed. He quickly established himself as a player getting heavy rotation at defensive end. In one game against the Buffalo Bills in Week 13, he had 1.5 sacks and an interception, which really brought him into Patriots fans’ consciousness. With one year left on his $570K deal, Lee is here at least to compete for a roster spot.
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91 – Deatrich Wise Jr. – Staying
Wise had an excellent first season in New England. Five sacks in his first sixteen games is not a bad return for what a lot of people forget was a fourth-round pick. For reference, Geneo Grissom was a third-round pick and only has one career sack. Wise Jr. has shown potential and as he is only entering the second year of his four-year contract, he is in New England for at least a few more years.
95 – Derek Rivers – Staying
Rivers is an intriguing prospect. A pure edge pass rusher, he is a bit undersized to be a pure defensive end that can set the edge at 250lbs. It will be interesting to see if he adds a bit of weight coming off his injury. Rivers showed promise last year in camp, but he fell behind and was out-shone by Wise Jr. who started to get more reps over him. He has three years left on his deal so he will get time to stake a claim for a roster spot.
96 – Geneo Grissom – Going
Grissom has had his chance in New England. He really hasn’t developed into the defensive end the Patriots were hoping for. Whilst he has contributed on special teams, he really has offered little on defense. Now entering his fourth season, the Patriots should move on. He is under contract for this year and his cap hit of $720K is minimal. If the team did want to keep him around, he wouldn’t cost much.
98 – Trey Flowers – Staying
As things stand, Flowers is probably the most irreplaceable player on the Patriots defensive line. Flowers is a good player, but that fact is an indictment on the Patriots line. Flowers is a solid player that is probably better suited being a secondary threat behind a premier pass rusher. If (as expected) the Patriots add some veteran pass-rushing talent via Free-Agency then it could have a hugely positive impact. To borrow a tired and old phrase, “a rising tide lifts all boats”.