That includes star players like wide receiver Julian Edelman, cornerback Aqib Talib and running back LeGarrette Blount. Edelman was the Patriots’ top receiver in 2013, Blount carried the team to two important victories and Talib’s value was obvious when he was injured during the AFC Championship Game loss to the Denver Broncos, and the rest of the defense faltered.
Linebackers Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher, tight ends Michael Hoomanawanui, Matthew Mulligan and D.J. Williams, center Ryan Wendell, long snapper Danny Aiken, wide receiver Austin Collie, defensive end Andre Carter and tackle Will Svitek round out the Patriots’ free agents in 2014. Spikes, Wendell, Fletcher and Hoomanawanui were starters at different points this season.
The Patriots are unlikely to bring back Spikes after the team unnecessarily placed the linebacker on injured reserve after the regular season, and the team should be able to do better at tight end. Collie and Carter played key roles by the end of the season, but that was only because of injuries and young players failing to step up.
Find out how the Patriots should prioritize their free agents in the gallery below.Follow @DougKyedNESN