3 in-house free agents Patriots should consider re-signing

Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

This year's free agency has been a repeat of most past seasons regarding the Patriots, despite the expectation that Jerod Mayo will go on a full-blown shopping spree with nearly $100 million available to spend.

They made some applaudable re-signings that have seemingly flown under the radar, but because of their lack of movement to bring in talent from other teams, there's room for more in-house free agents to consider returning.

That may not be the most exciting thing for fans, considering the need for significant improvements on the offense specifically. But the Patriots are now at a point where they can't get too picky about who they should sign for the 2024 season. They need productive players they can rely on, and the easiest way to do that is by retaining those they are familiar with.

Three players, in particular, should be considered to re-sign during this second wave of free agency or later in the offseason if they remain unsigned.

3 in-house free agents Patriots should consider re-signing

J.C. Jackson

After an unlikely trade back to the Patriots last year, the reunion with J.C. Jackson had its highs and lows.

He was a welcomed return by fans disappointed with his initial departure two years prior. When Christian Gonzalez and Marcus Jones went down with season-ending injuries, it made sense for Jackson to return to the team he had seen the most success with after a failed tenure with the Chargers.

Jackson immediately returned to his former position and looked like the player he was in his first stint in New England despite a slower start. Unfortunately, off-the-field drama and personal issues created problems for the cornerback for the rest of the season, resulting in his placement on the reserve/non-football illness list to end the year.

He was released earlier this month, but reports have suggested there is a mutual interest in bringing him back. Because they also cut Myles Bryant and Jalen Mills, who both signed elsewhere in free agency, the team still needs reinforcements in the secondary.

Re-signing Jackson should be considered more at this point in free agency, and even more so since the upcoming draft is expected to focus mainly on the offense.

If he can get back on track with his mental health and be part of the team throughout the spring and summer, there's no reason to believe Jackson can't thrive with the Patriots again. A cornerback room made up of him, Gonzalez, Jones, and Jonathan Jones would be impressive and keep up with the dominant streak the defense has had in recent years.

Trent Brown

Now that they have locked up Mike Onwenu at right tackle for at least the next three years, there is a significant need to fill the other side of the offensive line. However, a lack of intriguing players mostly remains available. That might be grounds for the Patriots to bring back Trent Brown at left tackle despite his apparent lack of desire to be on the team.

Regardless of how his 2023 season progressed, Brown continues to be one of the best at the position in the league. When he's on, he's on, and he was even the best lineman on the team for a stretch last year, proving he's still more than capable of being the right guy for the job.

Because he is still a free agent and no reports indicate teams are interested in signing him, it could be the perfect opportunity for New England to get a deal done. They'll likely rely on the draft for their long-term option at left tackle, but Brown is a solid vet that they could likely bring back on a cheap one-year contract that allows them to get what they need from him.

The problem they'll run into is convincing him to come back. He was visibly checked out by the end of the season and wasn't shy in sharing his displeasure with some of the things that happened throughout the year.

Most of his frustration seemed to be pointed at the previous regime, though, which could work in Jerod Mayo's and Eliot Wolf's favor if they inquired about bringing him back to the team.

Myles Bryant

Because of the need at cornerback, re-signing a multifaceted player like Myles Bryant feels like a good decision for many reasons. Not only is his impressive versatility useful, but he also played a career-high number of snaps last season and played some of his best football to date.

Despite earning an unfavorable reputation among fans, primarily due to his tendency to make ill-timed mistakes, Bryant did become a solid contributor on defense who would be hard to replace.

There aren't many players in the league who can be thrown into different positions during a game, but he has consistently been that guy during his four seasons in New England.

Although he was released before the official start of free agency, there's no apparent reason for the Patriots not to consider bringing him back. He's still a young player and could be re-signed on a cheaper contract, which is always a plus. And he's very familiar with how things are run with the defense, adding another factor to consider.

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