The Patriots made some moves in free agency this offseason, but their biggest moves were more focused on retention than addition.
Bill Belichick focused on keeping players like cornerback Aqib Talib, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and wide receiver Julian Edelman among others in house to maintain a level of consistency on the roster. Now, we might be getting a bit ahead of ourselves, but there could be more of the same next offseason.
The Patriots have 23 players currently on their roster that are either on one-year deals or are entering the final year of their contract. The likelihood that all 23 of those players are on the roster by Sept. 1, never mind next March, is not good.
There is also always the chance that the Patriots hammer out a deal with one or a few of those impending free agents, in the same way they did with tight end Rob Gronkowski and former Patriot Aaron Hernandez just last offseason. But, either way, with so many guys set to hit the market there will be more than a few tough decisions to make when the free-agent window opens next March.
So, as we gear up for the fast-approaching start of training camp, let’s take a look at some of the key Patriots players who need a big year if they hope to stick around in New England.