The New England Patriots have yet to even kick off their Super Bowl LIII championship parade, but you can bet Bill Belichick already has begun initial planning for the 2019 season.
The first step in that process will be determining how to proceed with the nearly two dozen Patriots players who are set to hit free agency when the NFL league year begins March 13.
With that in mind, here’s a quick look at each of New England’s impending free agents — a star-studded group that includes the team’s sacks leader, its starting left tackle, three of its top four receivers and multiple defensive contributors, not to mention both the kicker and the punter:
(* indicates restricted free agent; + indicates exclusive-rights free agent)
Trey Flowers, defensive end
2018 stats: 57 tackles, 7 1/2 sacks, 20 QB hits, nine tackles for loss, three forced fumbles in 15 games
Patriots’ best pass rusher in each of the last three seasons and arguably their top defensive player in 2018. Finding a way to retain him should be New England’s No. 1 priority this offseason.
Trent Brown, offensive tackle
2018 stats: three sacks allowed, 36 pressures allowed in 16 games
Seamlessly replaced Nate Solder at left tackle after playing on the right side in San Francisco and started every game this season. Devastating as a run blocker in the postseason and sound in pass protection in the postseason. Seems to know his next contract will be a hefty one.
Chris Hogan, wide receiver
2018 stats: 55 targets, 35 catches, 532 yards, three touchdowns in 16 games
Endured a down season after looking like a potential star in the first half of the 2017 campaign. Caught two or fewer passes in 10 of New England’s 16 games despite leading all Patriots receivers in snaps played. Zero catches on six targets in Super Bowl LIII.
Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver
2018 stats: 28 targets, 21 catches, 247 yards, three touchdowns; 42 carries, 228 yards, one touchdown in 15 games
Made important contributions as a receiver, running back and kick returner in his first season in New England, earning second-team All-Pro honors for the latter.
Phillip Dorsett, wide receiver
2018 stats: 42 targets, 32 catches, 290 yards, three touchdowns in 16 games
Hardly saw the field during Josh Gordon’s tenure but was reliable when called upon, catching each of the final 16 passes thrown his way during the regular season and scoring two touchdowns in the playoffs.
Jason McCourty, cornerback
2018 stats: 68 tackles, 10 pass breakups, one interception, one forced fumble in 16 games
Inconsistent week to week in coverage, but a solid veteran presence in the Patriots’ secondary. Started 13 games and spent several weeks as the No. 2 corner behind Stephon Gilmore before being leapfrogged by undrafted rookie J.C. Jackson. Started over Jackson in Super Bowl LIII and made one of the game’s signature plays by sprinting across the field to break up a would-be touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.
Eric Rowe, cornerback
2018 stats: 10 tackles, one pass breakup in four games
Began the season as the Patriots’ No. 2 corner before being jumped by McCourty and subsequently landing on injured reserve with a groin injury.
Stephen Gostkowski, kicker
2018 stats: 27 of 32 field goals, 49 of 50 extra points in 16 games
Succeeded Adam Vinatieri in 2006 and has been the Patriots’ kicker ever since. Three of his five missed field goals during the regular season came from 50-plus yards out. Missed from 46 yards in Super Bowl LIII but drilled his other two attempts, including a late 41-yarder that iced the game.
Ryan Allen, punter
2018 stats: 45.1 yards per punt in 16 games
Easily beat out rookie Corey Bojorquez for a roster spot in training camp. Posted his best yards-per-punt average since 2015 but ranked in the middle of the pack league-wide in most punting statistics. Was an unsung hero in Super Bowl LIII, pinning the Rams inside their own 10-yard line on three of his five punts.
Malcom Brown, defensive tackle
2018 stats: 39 tackles, one QB hit, one fumble recovery in 15 games
Was fine but quiet this season after the Patriots declined to pick up his fifth-year option. It’ll be interesting to see what the market is for the 2015 first-round draft pick.
Danny Shelton, defensive tackle
2018 stats: 21 tackles, one tackle for loss, one QB hit in 13 games
Largely disappointing offseason acquisition who played his best game in Super Bowl LIII after being a healthy scratch for the AFC Championship. Also was left out of the lineup for three straight games late in the regular season, though New England’s run defense improved considerably upon his return.
LaAdrian Waddle, offensive tackle
2018 stats: three sacks allowed, 17 pressures allowed in 16 games
Swing tackle who rarely saw the field this season thanks to the health of Brown and right tackle Marcus Cannon.
John Simon, edge rusher
2018 stats: 17 tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, three QB hits in 11 games.
Valuable sub-package player, making under-the-radar contributions as a run defender and pass rusher. Had one of New England’s 12 pass breakups in Super Bowl LIII.
Albert McClellan, linebacker
2018 stats: three special teams tackles, one blocked punt in seven games with Patriots
Gave New England’s struggling special teams units a huge boost after signing midseason. Got a hand on two punts in a Week 14 loss to the Miami Dolphins and recovered a muffed punt in the divisional round. Briefly filled in on defense in Super Bowl LIII and made one tackle.
Ramon Humber, linebacker
2018 stats: one blocked punt recovery in six games with Patriots
Another midseason addition who made an immediate impact in the kicking game.
Jeremy Hill, running back
2018 stats: four carries, 25 yards; one catch, 6 yards in one game
Beat out Mike Gillislee for a roster spot with a strong preseason but suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 1.
Brian Schwenke, offensive lineman
2018 stats: four offensive snaps
Landed on IR after being active for just three games.
Ulrick John, offensive lineman
2018 stats: N/A
Placed on IR before the season.
Jonathan Jones, cornerback*
2018 stats: 50 tackles, three interceptions, seven pass breakups, 1 1/2 sacks, three QB hits, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble in 16 games
Slot cornerback who continued to serve as a core special teamer. Fell out of favor on defense during the second half of the season before reemerging to cover Tyreek Hill in the AFC title game and play all but one snap at safety in Super Bowl LIII.
Josh Gordon, wide receiver*
2018 stats: 40 catches for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games with Patriots
Risky acquisition who provided the Patriots with solid production in the short term but eventually ran into trouble off the field. Is currently serving an indefinite suspension for violating the terms of his reinstatement, but an eventual return to the team is not out of the question.
Ufomba Kamalu, defensive end*
2018 stats: one tackle, one tackle for loss in one game
Impressed in his lone appearance after being promoted from the practice squad late in the year. An athletic specimen with intriguing potential.
Cody Hollister, wide receiver+
2018 stats: N/A
2017 practice squadder who missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing back surgery.
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images
Powered by WordPress.com VIP