11 free agents Patriots need to circle back to after the NFL Draft

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S Justin Simmons

It's hard to believe that a rising star like Justin Simmons remains a free agent nearly two months after he was officially made available, but the 30 year old safety remains unsigned for the 2024 season. He should be near the top of the list of players the Patriots are interested in simply due to how talented he is at the position.

Simmons has earned the reputation of being a ballhawk and has set records over the last few years because of it. He has become an interception magnet when playing against Patrick Mahomes, snagging five takeaways from the quarterback, the most by any player in the league.

Adding a player of his caliber to an already dominant safety group led by Kyle Dugger and Jabrill Peppers would make the Patriots' secondary one of the best in the NFL, boosting their already impressive defense over the top.

He would bring more speed and natural instincts to the field and be a tremendous help in creating opportunities for the offense because of his ability to create turnovers. Simmons certainly wouldn't be cheap, but the Patriots have the money now and in the future to afford to bring him in.

DE Yannick Ngakoue

With the pass rush still running through Matthew Judon and him alone, signing a guy like Yannick Ngakoue makes a lot of sense. Joshua Uche and Keion White may step up to the plate to become their next go-to guys on defense, but it's not a guarantee that either will accomplish that.

So bringing in Ngakoue would be an instant boost and near guarantee of added production from the defensive line.

The journeyman defensive end was a name that many Patriots fans wanted to see signed during the spending spree of the 2021 offseason, but Ngakoue signed with the Raiders instead and went on to have the best season of his career since 2018.

Smith has accomplished a lot over the last three seasons for three teams, proving he can easily adapt to a new scheme and playbook. During that time, he recorded 79 combined tackles, 22 tackles for a loss, 46 quarterback hits, 23.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles in 45 games.

Now that he's available again and the New England defense could use a player of his caliber, it's time to make the move now.