Patriots’ 2024 free agents: re-sign or goodbye

Guard/tackle Mike Onwenu (71) should be a priority for the New England Patriots to re-sign.
Guard/tackle Mike Onwenu (71) should be a priority for the New England Patriots to re-sign. / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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WR Kendrick Bourne – 2023 was supposed to be Bourne’s best season after being in Matt Patricia’s dog house in ’22. But Bourne’s season was cut short due to injury. He wants to come back, but free agency and possibly the draft could put Bourne’s return in doubt. Even with new wideouts, it shouldn’t change what the Patriots do with Bourne. Re-sign

TE Pharoah Brown – Brown is responsible for New England’s longest pass play of the season, a 58-yard catch-and-run against the New York Jets. He’s valued as a blocker but seems underutilized as a receiver. Hopefully, that changes next season. Re-sign

OT Trent Brown – Brown had a case as the Patriots’ best O-lineman, but his injury-filled season, plus the rumors about his attitude and lack of availability, might encourage Brown to find another place of employment. There’s no denying that New England needs a more reliable LT. Good-bye

RB Ezekiel Elliott – Elliott was productive as a role player for the Patriots. He did it all without any complaints about splitting carries. For all Elliott does well, he doesn’t bring needed explosiveness to the backfield. Good-bye

OL James Ferentz – Ferentz has been valuable in case of emergency depth player. He’s been in the league for eight years now, so he has seen everything. However, a new coaching staff might want to go with a youth movement for the rebuild. Good-bye

TE Mike Gesicki – Gesicki signed with New England on a one-year prove-it deal. He didn’t put together the season he hoped for, though it may not have been his fault (QB play). Instead of bringing Gesicki back, the Patriots may be better off going a younger route via the draft. Good-bye

TE Hunter Henry – We know what Henry is capable of when he has a competent quarterback getting him the ball. Henry would be welcomed back if it wasn’t for the Patriots being in rebuilding mode. A new franchise passer deserves a target to grow with. Good-bye

WR Tre Nixon – Nixon had a chance to snag a role in the offense during the preseason but failed to seize the opportunity. The Patriots likely will draft a receiver, maybe two. If they do, that may be the end of Nixon in New England. Good-bye

OL Michael Onwenu – This should be one of the easiest decisions for the Patriots, as moving Onwenu from RG to RT helped solidify the offensive line. The Patriots will need only an LT through the draft if they take care of Onwenu. Re-sign

WR Jalen Reagor – Reagor looked every bit of a bust like we heard he was with the Eagles. But then he returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. It’s a tease of what Reagor can do, but when healthy, the Patriots have players that can do what Reagor can and more. Good-bye

QB Nathan Rourke – Who? New England will probably draft as a passer and maybe have Mac Jones and/or Bailey Zappe under contract. The best Rouke can hope for is a camp arm, but that’s as far as his career in New England will go. Good-bye

OT Tyrone Wheatley Jr. – It would be a waste to let Wheatley Jr. walk after trading RB Pierre Strong for him. Wheatley Jr. plays at a position of need and has good potential. But he was also acquired by the previous administration. It’s a minimal investment to keep Wheatley Jr. around for evaluation. Re-sign