5 Patriots players who need to be gone before the 2024 season begins

New England would be in even greater position to succeed by moving on from these players.

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Patriots need to release defensive lineman Davon Godchaux

Another failed Miami Dolphins product, Godchaux lied to Patriots fans. He was good in 2018, and on a Bill Belichick team, he would only get better, right? Instead, he has gone from mediocre to bad over his three seasons in Foxborough.

In 2023, Godchaux was graded as the 102nd-best (28th-worst) interior defensive lineman in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). As was expected, the seven-year vet offered nothing in terms of pass rush, but he was also terrible against the run.

He also had his highest missed tackle percentage (5.1) since 2019. Sure, he did not miss a ton of tackles overall, but for a defense forced to win games for New England, any little mistake could mean the difference between a win or loss.

The good part is that New England can move on from Godchaux with very little dead money. He has a cap hit of $11.65 million in 2024, but the Pats could save a little over $8 million by releasing him. That is a win for the team well before the season starts.

New England cannot have cornerback J.C. Jackson back

Bill Belichick's pet should be as gone as the coach himself. Yes, Jackson was surprisingly good early in his career in New England, but then he signed with the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency, became an outright mess, and then after being let go by LA, he brought his mess back to New England. In Jackson's first four seasons, he had a quarterback rating allowed of no more than 66.5. In six games for the Patriots in 2023, his QBR allowed was 107.8.

Jackson is only 28 years old but appears to have aged a lot faster than most players. He seemed 40 years old on the field before he was basically neutered and told he could no longer play at the end of the year. Still, should New England keep him on the roster (and surely, they will not), he currently has a cap hit of $14,375,000 in 2024 with zero dead cap if he doesn't return. Jackson is gone as he should be.

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