With the official start of the 2024 offseason just around the corner and free agency beginning in two months, there's a lot of discussion about what moves many teams in need of a roster makeover will make to improve their teams for next season.
Because the Patriots are near the top of the list of teams needing to hit the ball out of the park in free agency and put together an incredible draft class, there is an increasing focus on what they will do with their roster in the coming months.
That's something Over The Cap has decided to focus on league-wide, creating a list of 100 possible cut candidates for every team. Since the Patriots have a lot of money to spend and desperately need to improve their offense, they may make a few surprising cuts, some of which will not liked by the fans.
Even with that in mind, the five players they chose as the likeliest candidates is still shocking given how productive and influential many have become during their time on the team.
They did, however, provide a basis for their list with a note describing what metrics they used to compile the names, which seems to focus mostly on contracts and their evaluation of performance.
Their criteria for the list: "This article is an attempt to add some visibility on which players could be cut in the coming months, using some metrics that include recent work done on determining contract fate. This article is an update from a similar article in August that will additionally use the regular season OTC Valuation metric to add an estimate of performance quality on the field in 2023 to try to forecast a more accurate picture."
With that, this list is built from the players who:
- Are due a minimum of $4 million in cash for 2024.
- Have a negative contract fate greater than 50%.
- Are within the top 100 in players with the worst OTC valuation above median starter, which is defined in OTC’s explainer of the valuation diamond.
These Patriots may be considered cut candidates, but they're too important to the team just to release them
David Andrews: 2024 salary - $5,500,000
Davon Godchaux: 2024 salary: $8,300,000
Jonathan Jones: 2024 salary - $9,000,000
Matthew Judon: 2024 salary - $7,500,000
Deatrich Wise: 2024 salary - $5,000,000
Although they use a special formula and various factors to determine the top 100 players to make the list, the idea of the Patriots moving on from any of those listed seems like a bad idea.
Andrews has become one of the most reliable players on the offensive line, which was very much needed this past season. Perhaps his age is considered a problem regarding his potential to be cut, but his salary is fair and is well below the average for a starting center.
Choosing four heavy hitters out of the defense (Godchaux, Jones, Judon, and Wise) is a real choice. All have been solid pieces of the team, especially when the defense has been the superior part of the team.
Some of their production goes under the radar, like Godchaux, since nose tackles don't tend to get much recognition. But moving on from them for salary purposes instead of reworking their contracts would be a foolish decision coming off a season that saw the defense be as successful as they were.
The good thing is that this is just a list made by Over The Cap and not a predictor of what's to come. Some of the players may end up elsewhere for the 2024 season. However, with the many ways contracts can be manipulated, there's no reason not to explore those options before jumping to cutting good players.