Grading the Patriots' first batch of (re-)signings in 2024 free agency

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots
Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots / Kathryn Riley/GettyImages
4 of 5

Patriots reward Alex Austin for standout rookie season with 1-year contract: (1-year, $915k)

Like other re-signed players, such as Anfernee Jennings, cornerback Alex Austin flew under the radar at the start of free agency and wasn't adequately recognized for his contributions to the Patriots' 2023 season.

By the time he signed with the Patriots, he had already been released by two other teams despite being drafted earlier in the year. Fortunately, he found the right team at the right time and was given a bigger opportunity to make an impact than he likely would have otherwise.

The cornerbacks had their fair share of issues last season, resulting in Austin earning a more prominent role in the latter of the year. He played in just five games, and his stats don't jump off the page, but his production helped him become one of the better cornerbacks on the team. He also wanted to make his mark on the team before heading into free agency.

Austin showed how quickly he could learn how the Patriots do things and built upon his previous performance each week. So, the one-year deal he was given to remain with the team is fair and gives him a real chance to show he has earned a spot on the roster moving forward.

Our grade: A

Patriots bring back Jalen Reagor on a 1-year deal: (1 year, $1.292 million)

When Jalen Reagor was signed to the Patriots practice squad last season, there was a bit of a buzz in the air given the unexpected trajectory he'd had throughout the first three years of his NFL career.

He was a former first-round draft pick, selected by the Eagles in 2020, and never lived up to the expectations that players taken early are believed to.

He was essentially signed as insurance and became valuable during the year when JuJu Smith-Schuster struggled to make an impact, DeVante Parker dealt with injuries, and Kendrick Bourne's season ended prematurely.

Because of that chaos, Reagor played in 11 games, and although he wasn't a game-changer, he did have a few electrifying moments that made an impact and likely served as the basis for his re-signing.

He's a fine addition to an improving offensive roster and special teams. If given more time to work with the team, like an entire offseason he didn't have with the Patriots last year, he could become more integrated into the game plan if he impresses.

Regardless, he's back on a 1-year deal that barely hits the Patriots' pocketbook, making his re-signing a no-brainer.

Our grade: B