3 bold predictions for the Patriots 2024 free agency 

New England Patriots v New York Giants
New England Patriots v New York Giants / Al Bello/GettyImages

One of the first things Jerod Mayo said when he was installed as the Patriots' new head coach was that he would spend money in free agency. How that will work is a bit of a mystery since nobody knows who the Patriots' general manager is.

But with the salary cap going up and 679 players are headed to free agency, someone is about to be very busy.

Bold prediction #1: New England miss out on L’Jarius Sneed, but Stephon Gilmore returns to Foxborough 

L’Jarius Sneed will be one of the most highly sought-after free agents. But it seemed the Chiefs would franchise tag him until they permitted him to seek a trade. Maybe the Patriots could get a deal done, but he won’t come cheap. And at 27 years old, he’ll be looking for a long, fat contract from his new team.

The Chiefs' decision to trade Sneed seems odd, given that he and Trent McDuffie are vital to Steve Spagnolo’s defense.  

Gilmore might be 33 and expensive (not as expensive as a 4- or 5-year deal for Sneed, would mind you). But he has plenty left in the tank. Gilmore allowed just 55.8% of passes to be completed in 2023, and QBs only had a QBR of 82.7 when they targeted him last season. Only Alex Austin put up better numbers than that for the Patriots in 2023 and only started one game! Gilmore’s last stint in New England ended in 2020 after three Pro Bowl selections in his four years in Foxborough. 

Gilmore earned $10 million in 2023, but with the Patriots now projected to have around $85 million to spend he’d be worth whatever he asks for. 

Bold prediction #2: The Patriots miss out on Mike Evans, Michael Pittman Jr. and Calvin Ridley 

But they land Odell Beckham Jr.

After their brief time together in Cleveland, Alex Van Pelt seems to love him. In 2021 Van Pelt even threw passes for Beckham during a practice session. And Jerod Mayo played against him in 2015 when the Patriots beat the Giants 27-26 in Week 10 of that season.

But Beckham racked up 104 receiving yards and hauled a touchdown on just four catches. So, the boss has firsthand experience of how he can stress defenses. 

Beckham Jr. might not be the speedster he was with the Giants in 2015. But he can still separate from coverage and he can still catch. Not only would Beckham add a receiving threat, but he would also add some much-needed playoff experience. Beckham has played in seven playoff games and obviously won a Super Bowl with the Rams. Not many of the Patriots team can say the same. 

Beckham Jr was on an incentive-laden deal in Baltimore last year, but his base contract value was $16 million. That’s expensive for one season, but if the Krafts are desperate to shake their skinflint tag, they should sign some big names this offseason.  

Bold prediction #3: They replace Mike Gesicki with Harrison Bryant 

Gesicki made $4.5 million last season, and Bryant, who is three years younger, made $1 million. Gesicki caught 64.4% of his targets in 2023, but that was just 29 catches. He’s 28 years old and has never recaptured his 2020 form. In that, his third year in the league, Gesicki caught 53 passes for 703 yards and scored six touchdowns.

The following season, he caught more passes but averaged 2.6 fewer yards per touch, and he caught only two touchdowns that year. 

Van Pelt knows Bryant from his days in Cleveland, too. Bryant, a former John Mackey award winner, was essentially David Njoku’s backup during his time with the Browns. But under Van Pelt’s tenure, Bryant still caught 89 passes for 791 yards and hauled in 10 touchdowns in his four seasons in Cleveland.

Last season, Bryant had five rushing attempts, four of which resulted in first downs. So he’d provide some versatility, too. 

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