The New England Patriots have begun the annual process of reshaping their roster.
So far, they’ve signed three players from outside the organization and watched eight of their own walk out the door — one via trade and seven in free agency, including their deified starting quarterback.
With many moves still to come, here’s a very early look at the Patriots’ updated depth chart:
The Patriots likely will add another veteran to this group at some point, but presently, Stidham is QB1 as New England enters the post-Tom Brady era.
This is what the depth chart looked like at the end of the season, at least. We’ll be looking for Harris, the 2019 third-round pick, to climb after essentially redshirting as a rookie. He could challenge Michel for carries with a strong summer. Burkhead’s been valuable when healthy, but injuries have limited his availability. Releasing him would save the Patriots roughly $3 million against the salary cap. White remains the top option in passing situations.
Assuming Develin has healed from his season-ending neck injury, which remains unclear. Johnson, who took an unconventional path to the 53-man roster as an International Pathway player, also ended last season on injured reserve.
The Patriots have yet to bolster their weakest position group. Neither LaCosse nor Izzo looked like a starting-caliber player in 2019. Look for New England to add at least two quality tight ends through free agency or the draft.
One new addition here thus far: the speedy Byrd, whose punt return ability could put Olszewski’s roster spot in jeopardy. Expect more to come, be it veterans or members of this year’s historically deep draft class. Sanu isn’t a lock to stick around, as cutting him could save New England $6.5 million against the cap with no dead money left behind. He’s also coming off ankle surgery. And would the Patriots consider trading Edelman to Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
LT Isaiah Wynn
LG Joe Thuney
C David Andrews
RG Shaq Mason
RT Marcus Cannon
Interior O-line backups:
Offensive tackle backups:
The Patriots could return their entire starting offensive line, with Andrews settling back into the seat Ted Karras kept warm. But that’ll only happen if they don’t trade the franchise-tagged Thuney. And if Andrews is healthy enough to play after missing a full season with blood clots in his lungs. And if Cannon, who struggled in 2019, isn’t released — a move that would free up either $5.2 million (if it happens before June 1) or $6.3 million in cap space. In any event, the Patriots need a new swing tackle and better interior depth. Can Froholdt and Cajuste contribute after rookie-year redshirts?
Veteran newcomer Allen replaces Danny Shelton, who left to join Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions. The Patriots could use another big body to add to this mix. They’re reportedly eyeing former Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe. Cowart is another 2019 draft pick who could see his role increase.
Free agent departures have ravaged this unit, which was one of the Patriots’ deepest in 2019. Hightower and Bentley are their only experienced off-the-ball linebackers with Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts now gone, and they need at least one additional edge player to mitigate the loss of top pass rusher Kyle Van Noy. Expect Winovich, who impressed in a limited role as a rookie to help fill the Van Noy void. Hall spent all of last season on the practice squad, and Rivers has lost two of his three pro seasons to injury.
Status quo here. Picking up McCourty’s team option kept New England’s entire 2019 cornerback group intact. Pipkins came aboard before free agency, and Ross turned some heads in training camp last summer before landing on IR.
The third free agent signing, Phillips’ arrival will help offset the losses of third safety Duron Harmon (traded to Lions) and special teams ace Nate Ebner (signed with New York Giants) and should lighten the load placed on Chung, who’s taken a physical beating in recent years.
K Stephen Gostkowski
P Jake Bailey
LS Joe Cardona
ST Matthew Slater, Justin Bethel, Brandon King
Gostkowski is 36 and coming off hip surgery. Will he be back for a 14th season?
*The Patriots reportedly placed restricted free agent tenders on Eluemunor and Butler. Other teams have the ability to sign either to an offer sheet, which New England can choose to match.