This is one of the obvious names on the list at this point.
Because the special teams legend has been reportedly contemplating retirement for a few seasons now, it's fair to assume the 2023 season will be the last time we see Matthew Slater suit up for the Patriots.
Other than being 38 years old, playing 16 years in the NFL, and winning three Super Bowls, being a part of a season like the one the Patriots are going through right now seems reason enough to finally hang up the cleats, especially for a player as accomplished and legendary in New England as Slater.
He will be the latest dynasty-era Patriot to retire in recent years, joining Patrick Chung, Julian Edelman, and Devin McCourty as just a few fan favorites to end their careers in New England recently. But something that separates Slater from the others is his will to build up his likely heir apparent to ensure special teams doesn't entirely fall off in his absence.
That is Brenden Schooler, whom Slater has remained very complimentary of during his first two seasons in the league. He has already shown glimpses of Slater-like play in just a short time, making fans even more appreciative that Slater has stuck around a bit longer than he initially anticipated.
If 2023 is his final season, it will be a heartbreaking goodbye but overwhelmingly grateful thank you to one of the best special teamers to ever play on an NFL field. New England fans were fortunate to have a guy like Slater play for the Patriots for as long as he did, which will make him incredibly missed for years to come.