5 Patriots players who should receive contract extensions in 2024

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At this point in the 2024 offseason, the main focus is the upcoming draft, which happens to be one of the more critical and franchise-altering drafts for the Patriots in recent memory. Because they didn't make a lot of moves in free agency, they will need to hit the ball out of the park with their selections even more than they did before, putting a lot of pressure on the new regime in Foxboro.

They have plenty of cash to spend to bring in more players if they choose, but there are other options they should explore, like extending some of their most talented and valued players with new contracts.

Maybe looking ahead to next year's free agency isn't appropriate, given the importance of this year's draft. However, there are far too many players set to hit the free agent market in 2025 that would be devastating for the Patriots to lose, so locking them down now eliminates any stress of that potentially happening.

These are the top five they should offer extensions to before or after the upcoming draft.

5 Patriots players who should receive contract extensions in 2024

Matthew Judon

Is there anyone more important to the success of the Patriots' defense over the last three seasons than Matthew Judon?

The answer is no, as he has consistently been the leading pass rusher.

He was signed during the Bill Belichick spending spree during the 2021 offseason and has since become one of the best free-agent additions in several years. There were questions about the cost of his contract, mostly due to his age. But he's performed better than expected and actually put together back-to-back seasons that were the best of his career.

The 2023 season began well for Judon, who recorded four sacks, 13 combined tackles, nine quarterback hits, and a safety through just over three games. It was looking like he was well on his way to having another standout year, but he suffered what would be a season-ending injury in Week 4 against the Cowboys.

If his value wasn't already apparent at that point, seeing the pass rush completely fall off in his absence proved it beyond a reasonable doubt. It was the ultimate display of how critical Judon has become to the defense and why he needs to remain on the team for many more years.

He's entering the final year of his contract in 2024 and has done everything he can to show why he deserves an extension. In addition to his own production, he's been a mentor in the locker room, especially to young linebackers, and his help has been demonstrated on the field, as seen by Josh Uche in 2022.

On top of it all, Judon has said multiple times he hopes to retire in New England. So why not ensure that happens by keeping him in Foxboro even longer?