The height of NFL free agency and the 2024 draft are firmly in the rear-view mirror, but there still are ways the Patriots could bolster their roster before the regular season begins.

In addition to the trade market, New England could explore the pool of veteran free agents who haven’t been in a rush to sign a contract this summer. There are a number of impact players available, including Justin Simmons, Hunter Renfrow and old friend Stephon Gilmore.

Veteran offensive tackle Donovan Smith also still resides on the open market, and ESPN’s Matt Bowen believes the two-time Super Bowl champion’s best fit is in New England.

“The Patriots re-signed right tackle Mike Onwenu to a multiyear extension, drafted Penn State tackle Caedan Wallace (who will move to the left side in the pros) in the third round and signed former Steeler Chukwuma Okorafor to a one-year deal,” Bowen wrote in a column published Monday. “But Smith would provide good competition for the left tackle spot and, at worst, depth. He started for the Chiefs in the Super Bowl last season, and he posted a pass block win rate of 90.8% while allowing six sacks over 438 pass-block reps. New England needs reliable blockers for rookie quarterback Drake Maye, and Smith no doubt would help.”

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The Patriots certainly could use a player like Smith, but it would be fair to assume there isn’t mutual interest. The 2015 second-round pick will turn 31 next month and is gearing up for his 10th NFL season, so at this stage in his career, he might only want to play for a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

That said, money talks and New England still has plenty to spend. So maybe Eliot Wolf and company could steer Smith to Foxboro, Mass., by writing a big enough check.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

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