New rumor suggests top Patriots free agent won't re-sign for 2024

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots
Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Compared to other recent seasons, the Patriots don't have a list of pending free agents that is too lengthy this offseason. But to counter that, they do have many players who have been crucial to their success, which should be prioritized when re-signing anyone when free agency begins.

One of the more significant ones who may want to explore his options is offensive tackle Mike Onwenu, who has been an absolute superstar since the team drafted him in 2020. In the four years since he has risen in the ranks and become arguably the best lineman on the team and will inevitably receive many calls once he's officially a free agent.

That was expected, given how well he's performed and the respect he's earned around the league. It was also assumed the Patriots would try all they could to retain him for years to come, but that may not be the case, according to the latest rumors.

In a report this week, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler revealed that New England "essentially know [Mike] Onwenu isn't coming back." As for the reason, the NFL insider claims it's likely due to his status as the best of the free-agent linemen available this free agency and because "of his quickness and ability to play guard or tackle," ultimately resulting in several high bidders.

Typically, this wouldn't be a surprising generalization for a talent like Onwenu during the Bill Belichick era. But the Patriots are set to have around $70 million in cap space to spend in free agency, meaning they could easily pay him what he's worth.

Maybe that wouldn't happen with Belichick still running the show, but with Jerod Mayo in charge and possibly a new official general manager, we could see a different philosophy moving forward.

Not that the former coach didn't understand what it took to build a winning team, of course, he did, or how else did they win six Super Bowls in his tenure? But he was always conservative with spending money and, in recent years, shied away from dishing out what he needed to acquire or keep top players.

If they hope to get back to being a successful team, they'll need to change that and spend a bit more than they have in the past, and starting that by re-signing Onwenu would be a good start.

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