Looking ahead at the Patriots 2025 Free Agents

Some top players could leave
New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys
New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Like every other NFL team, the New England Patriots have free agents every year who could head for greener pastures and more cash elsewhere. In 2025, the Pats at present have 25 or so free agents who can fly the proverbial coup. One who won't was recently signed to an extension, an emerging star, and a favorite here, Christian Barmore.

Among the 27 is a handful whose roster departure would be a keen loss for the Foxborough team. Others would be missed but are more replaceable, while a third group could depart without significantly impacting the team's performance.

Let's examine these potential free agents and predict who will be re-signed early, who may be re-signed based on their 2024 performances, and who will likely be elsewhere in 2025. While it's early, it's never too early to look ahead.

Eliot Wolf is heading in the right direction with Christian Barmore's signing

Pat's d,e facto GM, Eliot Wolf recently deviated from the Bill Belichick model. He re-signed defensive tackle Christian Barmore to a contract extension after his first three years in the NFL. Belichick was willing to employ brinkmanship with even his best 4-year players, allowing their contracts to run out, hoping to retain them if possible or just let them leave if not.

It was a flawed policy. The Barmore extension demonstrates that Wolf "gets it." If he keeps to that prudent pattern, young players who play well in their first two seasons will be signed to extensions right then and there.

Along those lines, several free agents who can depart after 2024 should be re-signed shortly. Those top five future free agents are edge Matt Judon, running back Rhamondre Stevenson, safety Jabrill Peppers, linebacker Jahlani Tavai, and long-time center David Andrews (if he decides to keep playing).

All should be re-signed by Wolf sooner rather than later. They are solid or better performers and have earned extensions, especially in the cases of Judon (though he's a bit long-in-the-tooth), Stevenson, and Andrews.

2025 free agents who may stay on and those who probably won't

The next level of free agents is decent to good players who are either older, not worth their current salaries, or inconsistent. Most should not be offered an extension. This group includes defensive tackle Davon Godchaux, tight end Austin Hooper, backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, edge Joshua Uche, and cornerback Jonathan Jones.

Depending on which Uche shows up in 2025, the standout from 2023, or the mediocre one from 2024, the Pats' decision here will likely be easy. He's been inconsistent his first four years. In 2023, he notched 11.5 sacks but reverted to form in 2023 with only three. Similarly, Godchaux is a decent interior run-stopper but nothing special and not worth his $11.8M cap hit. Both will likely be elsewhere in 2025.

Journeyman Brissett was signed as a stop-gap quarterback for too much money at $8M this season. That money could have/should have been spent elsewhere on offense. He'll be seeking another venue in 2025.

Lastly, there's Jonathan Jones. Absent an injury or a dramatic fall-off in play, Jones should be re-signed but to a diminish,ed contract. Jones' 2024 cap hit is a staggering $12.75M+. Absent a restructuring, being traded, or possibly being released (his dead cap hit is a hefty $7.75M though), Jones will likely be back at a reduced salary in 2025. He's not worth $12.75M.

Finally, some players absent a breakout 2024 season, will either be kept around as depth options, practice squad players, or allowed to leave. They include OTs Chukwuma Okoraphor and Calvin Anderson; interior O-linemen Nick Leverett and Michael Jordan; D-linemen Daniel Ekuale, Trysten Hill, and Armon Watts; linebacker Raekwon McMillan; and corners Marco Wilson and Shaun Wade. Okoraphor may surprise, but most are eminently releasable.

That's the rundown on the 2025 Patriots free agents. A few key players should be re-signed, and some decent ones may be. The rest will likely not be here in 2025. In planning for 2025, having a handle on these situations is critical for making the right decisions.

Wolf overpaid to keep several good players, Kyle Dugger, Mike Onwenu, and Christian Barmore, around. They should have been given extensions by Belichick after year two on team-friendlyBelichick should have given them extensions deals. He also overspent for Brissett, a backup not worth $8M.

If he's to be successful, Eliot Wolf has to learn from his and Belichick's mistakes. Paying too much for too little production is a prescription for failure and a trip to the unemployment line. Hopefully, in future offseasons, if he's still around, he'll keep these lessons in mind.

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