3 biggest winners and 3 losers from Patriots first wave of free agency

New England Patriots v New York Giants
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The first week of free agency is always chaotic, and this year seemed especially frantic compared to years past. Plenty of big contracts and unexpected trades were made, all in an effort by teams to improve their rosters ahead of the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Patriots were among the few teams that didn't make a big splash, sticking to re-signing their most important free agents and bringing in new ones who didn't exactly move the needle. But even though their moves weren't as exciting as anticipated, a few players definitely walked away as the biggest winners of the offseason.

Fortunately for New England, they benefit from those wins, too.

3 winners from the Patriots first wave of free agency signings

Mike Onwenu

One of the most critical re-signings of this free agency was ensuring the return of Mike Onwenu, the best offensive lineman for the team over the last two years. He was touted to be the best at the position to be available, with many teams expected to be interested in signing him.

Although the news about his new contract took longer than many hoped for, he will be on the Patriots for the next three years and has already been said to be the starting right tackle in 2024.

On the surface, that's excellent news for the Patriots, who needed to keep him on the roster, even more so with Trent Brown heading to free agency. However, Onwenu is the real winner for more reasons than just getting a new contract with the team he wants to play for.

There was some debate about how much he would earn with other teams as a right tackle despite his versatility to play nearly every position on the offensive line. On top of that, left tackles are paid much more than the other side, which is why many hope to make a career out of playing that position.

Onwenu doesn't have to worry about that, though, as he was awarded a contract of a left tackle with a 3-year, $57 million deal with $36.5 million guaranteed. It was quite a way for the Patriots to show their belief in his talent and his importance to the team, while Onwenu gets to celebrate to the bank with a big paycheck.