Coming off a promising 2021 in which they ended they got back the playoffs, the New England Patriots have plenty of work to do this offseason to make sure their success story doesn’t go down as a one-hit wonder.
Perhaps the most important item on the Patriots’ offseason agenda is re-signing pending free agents. There are currently 18 players from the 2021 roster who are out of a contract, with the most notable being JC Jackson, Trent Brown, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater.
Each of them are unrestricted free agents, so they’ll be free to negotiate with any team beginning on March 15.
With Jackson’s uncertain future garnering all of the buzz, it’s taken away from the significance of Brown’s status as a free agent. We all know Bill Belichick isn’t one to pay up to keep offensive linemen, but Brown’s latest social media stunt could hint he’s on the verge of re-signing.
After all, what else could this possibly mean?
Did Trent Brown hint he’s going to re-sign with the Patriots?
Those are definitely Patriots colors and Brown has sported the No. 77 jersey throughout his career. Certainly looks like the 28-year-old right tackle is trying to tell us something before NFL free agency gets underway on March 18.
Brown played the 2021 season on a one-year, $9 million contract, which included $6.5 million guaranteed. While he was dominant at RT in the games he played, the fact a lingering calf injury limited him to just nine games suggests the Pats could convince him to re-sign at a similar price, or even a discount.
Either way, retaining Brown should be high on New England’s priority list. While durability has always been a concern with the seven-year pro, he was utterly dominant after he returned from the calf injury in Week 10. He started the team’s final eight games and played 95.2% of the offensive snaps.
For the season (489 snaps), Brown earned a 81.2 pass-blocking grade and a 70.4 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus. He didn’t commit a single penalty and allowed just one sack, four quarterback hits and nine pressures.
If you project those numbers over a full 17-game slate, you’re talking about Brown being in the Pro Bowl conversation.
Assuming this tweet foreshadows his return, that would mean Ted Karras, a pending free agent who played 695 snaps at left guard in 2021, would be the only starter on New England’s offensive line who isn’t signed through 2022.
That certainly wouldn’t be a bad way to enter free agency.
Of course, it’s yet to be determined whether Brown changing his Twitter profile pic means he’s coming back. Judging by the tone of the tweet, though, we get the feeling the 6-foot-8, 380-pound lineman will be suiting up on Foxborough next season.