4 underrated Patriots who deserve new contracts with New England

New York Jets v New England Patriots
New York Jets v New England Patriots / Billie Weiss/GettyImages

Among the long list of pending free agents, the Patriots have a few players who aren't being discussed how they should. They aren't the flashiest players on the team, so they're being overlooked.

But they have proven to be solid contributors while in New England and if given another opportunity, could become a big part of their success moving forward.

Because of that, it would be fair to label them as underrated yet at the top of the list of who Jerod Mayo should re-sign for the 2024 season. They have plenty of roster holes to fill, and these four players could help make that easier by receiving new contracts.

4 underrated Patriots who deserve new contracts with New England

Pharaoh Brown

One of the team's barest positions for next season remains tight end, with Hunter Henry as the only player signed at the moment. It's assumed the Patriots will select a tight end in the upcoming draft at some point, but Henry would benefit from some veteran help on the developing offense.

Retaining a guy like Pharaoh Brown would be wise because the list of pending free agents in this year's class isn't worth throwing the bag at. He wasn't meant to be as helpful as he was during the 2023 season, but his overall performance made him arguably more valuable than Mike Gesicki, who was signed to be in that role alongside Henry.

Brown's presence often elevated an otherwise stagnant offense. Even though he only recorded 13/15 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown, he was often the boost the offense needed to start making positive plays.

Because of his age and lack of tremendous impact during his career, the Patriots could bring him back on a cheaper contract and continue to utilize him exactly how they have been. Brown could be a beneficial piece in the passing game and as a blocker, which is even more critical given how poorly the offensive line has been.

Mack Wilson

After completing a less-than-exciting 2022 season that ended with him being benched from the defense and relegated to special teams, Mack Wilson was re-signed and turned things around throughout the following season.

It was the perfect time for the versatile linebacker to do so, with Matthew Judon suffering a season-ending injury and the rest of the team needing to step up majorly in his absence. Wilson took advantage of the opportunity and put together his best seasons to date, recording 37 combined tackles, four quarterback hits, three passes defended, two forced fumbles, and 3.5 sacks.

Although his performance won't be remembered for years to come, his significant jump in usage on defense makes his production all the more impressive, especially when you consider how much he was still used on special teams as well.

It would be good to see him return to New England for 2024 and beyond, but several teams are believed to be interested in acquiring him.

Anfernee Jennings

Since being drafted in 2020, Anfernee Jennings hasn't had the most stellar career, primarily due to a lack of opportunity and missing the entire 2021 season due to injury. He turned that around last year post-Judon's injury, much like Mack Wilson, and became one of the best linebackers on the entire team.

Once fully immersed in the defensive game plan, Jennings credited a routine for helping him become more comfortable in the system and becoming a consistently productive player. Trusting the process and recognizing the opportunity he had in front of him made him stand out throughout the season despite his underwhelming stats.

Even though that may be true, he did demonstrate some inspiring progress throughout the year, especially for a player who started the season as a healthy scratch.

Through the 14 games he started, Jennings recorded 66 combined tackles, 14 of which were for a loss. He was only credited with 1.5 sacks, which wasn't the most helpful with Judon out. But he was a great edge setter and proved worthy of another shot in 2024.

Jalen Reagor

When it was announced that the Patriots were signing Jalen Reagor, a former first-round draft pick, to their practice squad, there wasn't a whole lot of excitement about it. He was another player who fell victim to where he was drafted and was never able to live up to the moniker.

It's not entirely his fault, but a lot of stock is put into first-rounders, right or wrong, and his performance just wasn't deemed worthy of keeping around.

After a failed stint with the Vikings, playing behind Justin Jefferson, Reagor found himself in New England and getting more playing time than expected.

Because of Kendrick Bourne's season-ending injury, the lack of success involving JuJu Smith-Schuster in the offense, and lackluster quarterback play, he took the field in 11 total games, recording seven receptions for 138 yards (19.7 YPC).

It wasn't necessarily groundbreaking, and believing he deserves another shot in Foxboro is probably controversial, but his explosive moments made him an exciting addition to the team and demonstrated the potential he has that the offense could benefit from.

They're in need of receivers this offseason, and the list of free agents is far from game-changing, so retaining a guy like Reagor on a cheaper deal feels like a win/win because what's the worst thing that could happen?

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