The Patriots will have a lot of cap space to utilize this offseason, but one internal free agent might want to test the waters on his value.

It’s “no secret” New England wants to bring back Michael Onwenu and Kyle Dugger, according to director of scouting Eliot Wolf. There reportedly is an “offer on the table” for Dugger, who fits the identity Jerod Mayo wants to build with his roster.

However, Andrew Callahan and Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald on Saturday reported the 27-year-old “is believed to want a longer-term contract that will maximize his guarantees in what should be his last chance to truly cash in as a free agent.” That is why he might want to test free agency instead of taking the reported offer from the Patriots.

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New England also “has not been discussed” using either the transition tag or franchise tag on Dugger, according to the Boston Herald. The transition tag is worth $14 million, and the franchise tag is worth $17 million. This seems to imply that the Patriots are keen on retaining Dugger but also have their limits as well.

Dugger recorded 109 tackles and two interceptions in 17 games last season, but New England could find a replacement as the Boston Herald added it is interested in adding at least one “elite defender” who could start immediately under Mayo.

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The deadline for the franchise tag is March 5.

Featured image via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports