3 former Patriots we’d like to see return in 2024

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Free agency is always an exciting time for any team in the NFL, especially a team in the same position as the Patriots this year. They have around $100 million to spend, plenty of roster holes to fill, and a brand new staff hoping to sell some top players available to buy into their new culture and era in New England.

The plan, of course, is it will be enough to entice the players who could immediately make the team better, and because Bill Belichick is no longer in charge of writing up the contracts, the possibilities feel endless.

Among those who could suit up with the Patriots next year are guys who have already spent years with the team. They wouldn't be expensive at this stage in their careers, but that doesn't mean their production has been hindered.

4 former Patriots we’d like to see return in 2024

Stephon Gilmore

When it was announced that the Patriots were trading Stephon Gilmore to the Panthers in 2021, although it wasn't entirely shocking, it was a move that Patriots fans were not fond of.

In the years since they have remained envious of the teams the former Defensive Player of the Year has signed with, which became heightened last year when it was revealed New England tried to bring him back via trade but was outbid by the Cowboys.

Now that he will be back on the free agent market and the Patriots could use another cornerback with J.C. Jackson released this week and Jalen Mills heading to free agency, it feels like the perfect time for a Gilmore reunion in Foxboro.

He continues to be a dominant piece of every secondary he's a part of and has shown no signs of slowing down despite any concerns regarding his age. He would be a welcomed addition to the Patriots' defense and could be a great mentor for Christian Gonzalez in his second NFL season.

On top of that, Gilmore said he wanted to return to the team or finish his career there just over a year ago. So let's make it happen.

Cordarrelle Patterson

Because Rhamondre Stevenson will need another running back to help him in the backfield, but he wants to have a more prominent role within the offense, bringing back a guy like Cordarrelle Patterson feels like the right move.

He became a fan favorite in the one season he spent in New England, and Belichick was the first coach to use him in a dual role on the offense: running back and receiver. He has since gone on to be successful in continuing that blueprint, especially in his first two years with the Falcons.

But after they drafted Bijan Robinson last year, Patterson was given the backup role, and his production fell because of it.

At nearly 33 years old, he won't be looking to be the RB1 for a team anytime soon, and his career is more on the decline than it was during his first tenure with the Patriots. However, he's a proven threat on the ground and in the passing game and could be a big help to Stevenson in the way they hoped Ezekiel Elliott would be in 2023.

Nick Folk

Because he never should've been cut from the roster, to begin with, on top of Chad Ryland becoming more of a liability than a help, re-signing Nick Folk feels like a no-brainer. Sure, he's nearly 40 years old, but his performance with the Titans in 2023 was one of the most reliable years of his career.

He's clearly the same player he was during the four seasons he spent with the Patriots and would ensure they could be more trusting of their kicker for the season. Folk could also be a great help in helping Ryland improve his performance and help him rebuild the confidence he lost due to a rough rookie year.

A returning Folk would bring some stability to the special teams that was significantly lacking in a Belichick-coached team.

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