3 former Patriots players who might be done in the NFL

Former New England players who likely are done helping teams.
N'Keal Harry of the New England Patriots
N'Keal Harry of the New England Patriots / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The New England Patriots used to churn out excellent players with consistency. These guys would get too expensive to stay in New England - or Bill Belichick just didn't want to pay them - and they would leave for other teams. They would then make other teams better.

Where, for instance, would the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski? Without a Super Bowl. That much is for certain.

Recently, though, New England has not lost as much talent because there has not been as much talent. This means New England is helping other teams less. The three players that follow might also be done playing in the NFL (though two of them are still on rosters).

Three former New England Patriots who could be done playing in the NFL

Wide receiver(?) N'Keal Harry (Patriots first-round pick in 2019)

Harry was a good example that Bill Belichick simply had no clue what he was doing when it came to drafting wide receivers. He was better at finding gems in trades or later rounds. Harry was not simply bad for the Patriots, though; he has been bad for three teams now.

In fact, so much so that his current team, the Minnesota Vikings, are attempting to move him to tight end.

The receiver/tight end might have an uphill battle making the Vikings' roster, though. He is currently third or fourth on the depth chart, and as he has not shown to be a good blocker, keeping him would seem to be a waste of a roster spot.

Should Minnesota release Harry as a receiver, there would not seem to be a team that would want to add him, so his career might be over if he doesn't stay with the Vikings.

Cornerback J.C. Jackson (signed by Patriots as a UDFA in 2018)

Jackson has had a strange career in the league so far, though he is currently a free agent and might not find a home. He was not viewed with high enough esteem to be drafted in 2018, but he earned a spot on New England's roster and started five games in his rookie year. He also picked off three passes.

This is where Jackson's true value lies. He could create turnovers. In his first four seasons - all with New England - he had 25 interceptions. He led the league with 23 passes defended in 2021. He was named Second-Team All-Pro that season. Beginning in 2022, Jackson's ability to be good just suddenly stopped.

He had one interception between 2022 and 2023 and was released by the Los Angeles Chargers after just a season and a half. and picked back up by New England. The Patriots likely hoped he could rekindle some old magic, but he couldn't. After posting a quarterback rating allowed of only 46.8 in 2021, he had a QBR allowed of an astonishingly bad 149.3 in 2022.

Last year, his QBR allowed was 100.5 and was 107.8 with New England. He is currently a free agent and unlikely to be signed.

Quarterback Jarrett Stidham (Patriots fourth-round pick in 2019)

Stidham is still currently employed by an NFL team. He plays for the Denver Broncos. In 2023, Denver head coach Sean Payton thought enough of the Stidham - or so little of Russell Wilson - that Payton started Stidham the last two games. The quarterback wasn't terrible but was no better than his career average.

The soon-to-be 28-year-old certainly did not prove he is worthy of being a starting quarterback in the league.

Denver took Bo Nix in the 2024 NFL draft in hopes he would be the franchise's quarterback of the future. The Broncos also traded for New York Jets outcast Zach Wilson, which means Denver has three quarterbacks for two spots. Potentially, Stidham or Wilson could make the practice squad, but they seem to have done enough in the NFL to show they aren't long-term options.

Stidham is also more expensive in 2024 than Wilson as his cap hit is $7 million and Denver would save $5 million by releasing him. Wilson's cap hit is just $2,726,637. Likely, Stidham, who spent two seasons in New England but did not start any games, will be the odd man out and he may not be good enough for another team to pick him up.

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