The New England Patriots raced through free agency with a shopping cart in hand early this week, tossing in pass-catchers and defenders in a “Supermarket Sweep” frenzy.
Head coach “Dolla, Dolla” Bill Belichick came away with nine potential starters in wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, tight ends Hunter Henry Jonnu Smith, outside linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Matt Judon, defensive linemen Davon Godchaux and Henry Anderson and defensive back Jalen Mills.
The Patriots should still have a few million dollars left in cap space, and they have the draft to fill in the rest of their needs. But here’s a look at how New England’s depth chart currently stacks up:
Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, Jake Dolegala
Free agent: Brian Hoyer
The Patriots should still look to add a piece here via trade, free agency or the draft. Newton needs some competition beyond Stidham and Dolegala.
Damien Harris, James White, Sony Michel, J.J. Taylor, Brandon Bolden
Free agents: Rex Burkhead
The Patriots could be all set at running back with Harris, White, Michel, Taylor and Bolden if they want to be. Burkhead suffered a serious knee injury during the 2020 season and still could return.
Jakob Johnson, Danny Vitale
Tight end Dalton Keene also could contribute at fullback.
Julian Edelman, Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, N’Keal Harry, Gunner Olszewski, Matthew Slater, Devin Smith, Kristian Wilkerson, Isaiah Zuber
Free agents: Damiere Byrd
Look for the Patriots to potentially sign another low-level free agent and see what’s available in the draft. We’ve slotted Edelman at the top, but he’s no guarantee to be available. He is working out and rehabbing as if he plans to play, according to a source.
Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene, Matt LaCosse
The Patriots are loaded at tight end with Smith and Henry. Asiasi and Keene might not see the field very often in 2021.
LT Isaiah Wynn, LG Michael Onwenu, C David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, RT Trent Brown, Ted Karras, Justin Herron, Korey Cunningham, Marcus Martin, Yodny Cajuste, Najee Toran, Ross Reynolds
Free agents: OL Jermaine Eluemunor, C James Ferentz
The Patriots have one of the best and deepest offensive lines in the NFL. They could look to add more offensive tackle and guard depth through the draft.
Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux, Henry Anderson, Deatrich Wise, Byron Cowart, Montravius Adams, Carl Davis, Akeem Spence, Tashawn Bower, Michael Barnett, Nick Thurman, Bill Murray
Guy, who signed Wednesday, completes this group. They could still look to add another developmental option in the draft.
Dont’a Hightower, Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy, Chase Winovich, Josh Uche, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Anfernee Jennings, Terez Hall, Raekwon McMillan, LaRoy Reynolds, Rashod Berry, Brandon King
Free agents: John Simon, Shilique Calhoun
The Patriots head into draft season without an immediate need at linebacker. They also have Winovich, Uche, Jennings and Hall, all of whom could continue developing.
Stephon Gilmore, JC Jackson (RFA), Jonathan Jones, Jalen Mills, Joejuan Williams, Myles Bryant, Justin Bethel, Mike Jackson, Dee Virgin, D’Angelo Ross
Free agent: Jason McCourty
Things get complicated here at cornerback since Gilmore is still due a raise (or a trade). Adding Mills helps any uncertainty surrounding New England’s top cornerback. Jackson was tagged with a second-round tender. If another team signs Jackson to an offer sheet, he accepts and the Patriots decline to match, New England will receive a second-round pick in return for the young cornerback.
Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, Cody Davis
Jones, Mills, Williams and Bryant can also play safety.
K Nick Folk, P Jake Bailey, LS Joe Cardona, K Roberto Aguayo
The Patriots should look to release one of their kickers (not Folk) to create another spot on the roster before the draft.