4 Patriots free agents who should absolutely be back in 2024

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Mike Onwenu

As another critical piece of the offense, Mike Onwenu is a player who should not be allowed to leave Foxboro for any reason. Because the offensive line has been such an inconsistent group over the last few years and will need to be prioritized in free agency and the draft, ensuring the best player stays with the team long-term must be one of Jerod Mayo's first pieces of business as soon as free agency begins.

This will be the first time the young tackle enters free agency, and because of his rise to stardom over the last four years, he is already being touted as the best of the group. Because of that, retaining him won't come cheap for the Patriots, but given his versatility, reliability, and consistent production, there's no reason to let him walk.

Unfortunately, reports have suggested the team has already prepared for Onwenu to sign with another team, mainly due to the contract he will likely receive elsewhere. However, because we're now entering the Jerod Mayo era in New England, assuming he won't pay to keep players of Owenu's caliber is not how a situation like this should be approached.

If Bill Belichick were still in charge, watching Onwenu walk would almost be a guarantee, as he has a history of not wanting to give the going rate for top-name players. The former head coach had also formed a pattern of not re-signing players during their first time in free agency in recent years, indicating we'd be saying goodbye to Onwenu.

But since Mayo has already declared he wants to spend the estimated $70 million in cap space for next season while also emphasizing his desire not to be another Belichick, it seems like nothing is off the table regarding Onwenu returning.