The New England Patriots are quickly running out of available spots on their roster.
NFL teams can have 90 players on their offseason rosters, and the Patriots already are up to 77 after signing defensive tackle Markus Kuhn on Thursday. The Patriots currently have 11 selections in the 2016 NFL Draft, which leaves just two spots open for undrafted free agents and veteran additions.
The Patriots typically find great value in undrafted free agents — they ended last season with five rookie free agents on their 53-man roster — so it seems unlikely they’ll only sign two players when the 2016 NFL Draft ends.
Find out how the Patriots can fix this issue in this week’s mailbag.
@DougKyed Are the patriots loading up to gear up for one more superbowl run?
Bill Belichick has been loading up for one more Super Bowl run for the last 16 years.
The Patriots are signing more veteran free agents than usual, but it’s not like they’re mortgaging the future to do so.
Tight end Martellus Bennett and guard Jonathan Cooper have just one year left on their contracts, and defensive end Chris Long, defensive tackles Terrance Knighton and Frank Kearse, wide receiver Nate Washington, tight end Clay Harbor and cornerback E.J. Biggers all signed one-year deals.
The only offseason additions signed to multi-year contracts are wideout Chris Hogan and linebacker Shea McClellin, and they’re both relatively young players who could or should help the Patriots beyond 2016.
I would also argue that trading Chandler Jones shows the Patriots aren’t only planning for the short term.
@DougKyed do you see Jimmy G being dealt, or is he the heir apparent?
The most likely scenario is neither. Trades are rare and Tom Brady is signed to a longer deal than Garoppolo.
Out of the two choices, I’d say a deal is more likely. Garoppolo is only signed through 2017, while Brady has four more years left on his deal and is showing zero signs of slowing down.
Given Brady’s currently uncertain status for the beginning of the 2016 season, however, I wouldn’t expect a trade to happen this offseason. Crazier things have happened, though.
@DougKyed if available should the Pats consider drafting Jaylon Smith?
The Patriots have two second-round picks and two third-round selections, so I think that would make a lot of sense.
If healthy, Smith could have been a top five pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He tore his ACL and MCL in Notre Dame’s bowl game, and now his draft projection is uncertain. If the medicals are serious enough to keep him from being selected before the end of the second round, and if they’re not serious enough to cause him to fall beyond the Patriots’ top picks, he seems to be a good fit for New England. The Patriots don’t have many immediate needs.
@DougKyed how’s Dola fate looking like?
Well, Danny Amendola is still a Patriot, which is certainly a good sign. One would think the Patriots would have made a move by now if they were going to do something this offseason. Amendola agreed to restructured contract on March 12 last year.
@DougKyed why so many 1 year deals this offseason is that circumstantial? Some guys might play themselves into too rich of contracts for us
A one-year contract is beneficial for both parties in some circumstances. A one-year deal has far less risk than a multi-year contract, and players like Long and Knighton could earn larger contracts next offseason if they prove they can still play at a high level in 2016.
@DougKyed What DTs do you see making the final cut?
I’ll give myself some wiggle room by saying five defensive tackles will make the final roster. I’ll go with Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, Dominique Easley, Chris Jones and Knighton.
There certainly are situations where Markus Kuhn, Frank Kearse or a rookie makes the roster over Jones.
The Patriots have impressive depth at defensive tackle, as Brown, Branch, Easley, Jones, Knighton, Kuhn, Kearse, Ishmaa’ily Kitchen and Joe Vellano all have starting experience.
The competition will be fierce in training camp this offseason between players like Jones, Kuhn, Kearse and Kitchen.
@DougKyed with 11 picks in the upcoming draft, do you think the Patriots will draft at all spots? Or will there be wheeling and dealing?
I didn’t think the Patriots would use all of their draft picks last year, and they actually picked up more through trades.
I suspect the Patriots will make some cuts, and the most logical path in the draft is to package picks to move up in the second round while also potentially picking up fourth- or fifth-round picks.
The Patriots can’t deal one of their third-round selections and three sixth-rounders because they’re compensatory selections, however, which leaves just seven moveable picks.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Patriots use all 11 picks, but they shouldn’t.
The Patriots also could cut players on their current roster to free up space. They have an excess of players at defensive tackle and wide receiver.
@DougKyed would you give up a 2nd round pick for Jamal Charles ?
That’s kind of tough to say. He’s one of the best running backs in the NFL when healthy, but he’s coming off of a torn ACL, and he’s already 29 years old.
His value is low, so now is the time to trade for Charles, and the Patriots have two second-round draft picks.
I’d probably do it. A third-round pick would obviously be a better value, but a second-round pick wouldn’t be crazy. The Patriots’ most glaring need for 2016 is a running back who can pile up 20-plus touches per game.
@DougKyed Did you play football in high school ?
I played center and defensive end on the freshman team. Then I started playing guitar in bands pretty seriously and stopped playing football.
I can’t say I really regret the decision. I got to tour the country by playing in bands, and now I’m still involved in football.
@DougKyed Best worked match at Mania?
At WrestleMania 32 proper? The triple threat match between Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch.
If we’re including NXT and Monday Night Raw, I’d go with Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn at NXT Takeover: Dallas.
@DougKyed which current @WWENXT wrestler (or recent Monday night call up) will have the best career on the main roster?
It’s nearly impossible to pick between Finn Balor, Nakamura and Bayley.
Even though Nakamura has incredible charisma and talent, I need WWE and Vince McMahon to prove to me they’ll make a Japanese wrestler the face of their company before I’ll believe it.
I think Bayley has the potential to be the female John Cena, and Balor’s ceiling is a combination of Bret Hart and the Undertaker.
I guess I’ll go with Balor, but if the WWE is serious about their women’s division, the sky is the limit for Bayley.
There’s reason for excitement over WWE’s future if someone can Vince McMahon to involve himself less in booking.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Dec 13, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackle Dominique Easley (99) celebrates after a sack during the first half against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Texans 27-6. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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