Which Free Agents Could Patriots Target After Compensatory Pick Deadline?


May 7, 2019

May 8 is an important day on the NFL’s offseason calendar, especially for teams like the New England Patriots that are adept at navigating the compensatory pick process.

Beginning at midnight ET on Wednesday, free agents who sign with a team no longer will count toward that team’s 2020 comp pick formula, meaning we should see another flurry of signings this week.

News of one impending Patriots signing broke Tuesday, with NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reporting New England intends to sign veteran offensive tackle Jared Veldheer to a one-year contract worth up to $6.5 million.

Here are a few other free agents the Patriots could target once the compensatory deadline passes:

Ben Watson, tight end
The Patriots still need help at tight end after declining to select one in the 2019 NFL Draft, and Watson, who began his career in New England way back in 2004, could be a short-term solution. The 38-year-old announced his retirement in January but reportedly is mulling a return to the field, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter saying he wouldn’t be surprised if Watson winds up back in Foxboro.

Corey Liuget, defensive tackle
The Patriots already signed one free-agent tackle in Mike Pennel back in March, but could benefit from adding some more beef to that unit. Liuget, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the Los Angeles Chargers, missed the first four games of last season for a PED suspension and then suffered a season-ending torn quad in November.

Allen Bailey, defensive tackle
Bailey had one of the most productive seasons of his career in 2018, tallying 38 tackles, six sacks, five tackles for loss, 10 QB hits, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries. The Patriots reportedly hosted the ex-Kansas City Chief for a visit early in free agency.

Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle
Suh, who was not particularly well-liked by Patriots players during his stint with the Miami Dolphins, is the highest-profile remaining free agent and likely would be out of New England’s price range. The 32-year-old isn’t the force of nature he was earlier in his career, but he was solid for the Los Angeles Rams in 2018, playing in all 16 games and tallying 4 1/2 sacks with 19 quarterback hits.

Rishard Matthews, wide receiver
Matthews caught just five passes in eight games last season (three with the Tennessee Titans, five with the New York Jets), but was productive as recently as 2017, when he caught 53 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns in 14 contests.

Dontrelle Inman, wide receiver
Inman was a nice piece for the Indianapolis Colts last season, catching 76.6 percent of his targets after joining the team in October. Including playoffs, the 30-year-old caught 36 passes on 47 targets for 412 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games. The Patriots no longer have a dire need at receiver after drafting N’Keal Harry in the first round and signing three undrafted free agents, but adding another veteran to the mix could be appealing.

Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images
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