3 Patriots players auditioning for 2021 roster spot in Week 17

Patriots RB Sony Michel (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
Patriots RB Sony Michel (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /
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Here are three Patriots players who are auditioning for a roster spot next season in Week 17.

The New England Patriots failing to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and clinching their first losing record in two decades will hopefully light a fire under the front office’s rear end to make some upgrades to the roster in the offseason.

In the meantime, the Patriots will put a bow on their underwhelming campaign at home against the Jets this Sunday. With nothing meaningful to play for, it would be understandable if fans decided to watch one of the other plethora of games that actually have playoff implications.

Before you do that, however, allow us to tell you that the outcome of this game could drastically impact the Patriots’ draft position. Currently slated with the No. 14 overall selection, they could jump as high as No. 10 spot depending on how things play out.

As if you needed another reason to tune in for all four quarters, what if we told you that certain members of the team will be auditioning for a 2021 roster spot vs the Jets? If that doesn’t trigger your interest, then we’re honestly not sure what will. In any event, let’s attempt to highlight a few players who will be in that very position on Sunday.

Patriots DL Adam Butler (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

3. Adam Butler

Patriots DL Adam Butler will be a free agent in the offseason.

The Patriots will need to orchestrate some semblance of an overhaul to their defensive line this offseason and it remains to be seen if Adam Butler will be one of the sacrificial lambs. After a hot start to the year, the fourth-year pro’s production has tailed off down the stretch and his future with the team could pay the price.

Over 14 games (three starts), Butler has compiled just 15 solo tackles, six QB hits, three sacks and two passes defended. We get numbers don’t always tell the full story with interior defensive linemen, but it doesn’t take a football savant to know he should be contributing more.

We’re not demanding double-digit sacks, but a few more pressures, tackles for loss, and a forced fumble (or two) would go a long way in conveying his worth to the coaching staff. While struggling to wreak havoc in the backfield, the 26-year-old has somehow been much worse against the run, logging a woeful 45.1 run grade from Pro Football Focus.

Butler is questionable for Sunday with a shoulder injury, which is very unfortunate when you consider his future with the Patriots could boil down to his performance against New York. If he ends up getting the green light, however, he better perform like his contract depends on it.