The Patriots already faced a tall task this summer in trying to replace the handful of starters they lost over the offseason.
That challenge now is even more difficult, as New England’s list of vacancies grew Monday and Tuesday.
Six Patriots players opted out of the 2020 NFL season this week, including starting right tackle Marcus Cannon, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung, as well as special teams stud Brandon Bolden. Considering NFL players have until Aug. 3 to make a decision on their 2020 status, many believed this wave in Foxboro was just the beginning of players choosing to sit out the upcoming campaign.
Given the sensitivity of the issue, quite a bit can change by next Monday. But as it stands, the Patriots are not expecting any more players to opt out of the new season, per a report from The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.
Can't stress this enough: Fluid situation, players' feelings could change as test results come back in the ensuing days, etc.
But as of now, the Patriots believe this is the end of the opt-outs.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) July 28, 2020
The Patriots, as of now, will be eligible to begin strength and conditioning work and walkthroughs next week. New England won’t be able to hold a padded practice until Aug. 17, less than one month before its scheduled Week 1 matchup with the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.