Patriots Have A Ton Of Important Players Hitting Free Agency In 2017

The victory parade is over, and Bill Belichick iconically reminded everyone the New England Patriots are five weeks behind the rest of the NFL because they had to play in Super Bowl LI. So, it’s time to start flipping the page between 2016 and 2017.

The first step toward putting 2016 behind is to look at which players are set to hit free agency when the new league year officially starts March 9.

A warning to Patriots fans: You might want to wait a couple days, continue celebrating Super Bowl LI and come back to look at this list later because list features a ton of important players. No, but seriously, there are so many key players on this list, which includes six Super Bowl starters.

We’ll get into the analysis portion later, but here’s who the Patriots will need to re-sign in order to retain them for next season.

As a key, an unrestricted free agent is your standard, normal free agent who becomes available March 9 if the Patriots don’t extend him beforehand. The Patriots can extend one of three predetermined tenders to restricted free agents prior to March 9, at which time another team can sign that player to an offer sheet, which the Patriots have the right to match. If the Patriots extend a tender to an exclusive-rights free agent, he must accept it.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
TE Martellus Bennett
RB LeGarrette Blount
RB Brandon Bolden
DT Alan Branch
FB James Develin
WR Michael Floyd
FS Duron Harmon
LB Dont’a Hightower
DE Chris Long
LB Barkevious Mingo
CB Logan Ryan
TE Greg Scruggs
DE Jabaal Sheard

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
CB Malcolm Butler
OT Cameron Fleming

EXCLUSIVE-RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
CB Justin Coleman
DE Geneo Grissom
LB Brandon King
TE Matt Lengel

Thumbnail photo via Dan Powers/USA TODAY Sports Images

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