Patriots preparing for new player holdout during training camp this year

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Heading into the 2024 offseason, the Patriots had a long list of players set to become free agents, especially ones who had become significant parts of their success in recent years. The new regime led by Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf did a great job in ensuring those players remain with the team for 2024 and beyond, but there is still important work to do that cannot be put off any longer.

The next crucial work of business Wolf needs to get done is extend players who will be free agents next year, starting with Matthew Judon and Rhamondre Stevenson.

The elite pass rusher has made it clear he wants to retire with the Patriots, and reports suggested extending him would be prioritized after several others got their new contracts. But by the end of minicamp, nothing had been negotiated.

The only update we have received was not from Judon but from Stevenson, who casually revealed that a new contract to keep him in New England was in the works, and he felt a deal would get done fairly soon. It wasn't the news people hoped to hear, as most have focused on Judon, but it was good nonetheless.

Beyond those two, there's another player who should join them at the top of the list: Davon Godchaux. Given his position and the lack of flashy stats, he's gone under the radar and not as appreciated for his production as he should be.

However, he's been a consistently productive member of the Patriots roster since signing with the team in 2021, and he's looking for an extension as soon as possible.

Because that is yet to happen, it might be coming back to bite the team as they head into training camp next month.

Patriots preparing for new player holdout during training camp this year

With minicamp ending this past week, there had been a hyper-focus on who was in attendance and who was absent, mainly looking at the players wanting a new contract. Typically, minicamp is when a holdout begins if they're trying to make a point, as they're willing to pay the fines for missing mandatory practices.

Fortunately, suspected holdout Judon was in attendance, and he made it clear he would be there. But Godchaux was a noticeable absence, indicating he is on the path to being a holdout this summer.

Given his contract status, reporters questioned Mayo about what was going on with Godchaux and if there were any plans to get a deal done. The head coach ensured everyone that the nose tackle was present for every mini camp practice, just not participating, and they were "working through" negotiations with one of the team's best players.

As one of the more underappreciated parts of the Patriots' defense, hearing Mayo refer to Gochaux as one of the best players on the team might surprise some. But he's not missed a single game in three seasons, has recorded a minimum of 55 combined tackles, and has at least two tackles for a loss through 51 games.

On top of that, he's one of the best defensive tackles in the league and one of only three players who has recorded 55+ tackles for three straight seasons.

If one of the main goals for the 2024 season is to maintain a productive and dominant defense, ensuring Godchaux is on the field is critical. The best way to accomplish that would be to rework his current contract, spread out the money with an extension and make sure he's happy with the new deal he's getting.

The Patriots have the means to make him happy and should do that, given the caliber of the player he is and because they don't have much depth at the position on the roster right now. Godchaux is a trusted veteran who makes the defense better, so everything should be done to keep him around as long as possible.

Getting it done before training camp would be ideal for avoiding a holdout, too.

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