The New England Patriots are not exactly bursting at the seams with young talent.

And because of that, coupled with the fact they entered the offseason with a boatload of cap space, countless fans might have expected (and wanted) the Patriots to make waves on the open market. But New England, less than two weeks from the start of training camp, has opted not to do that. The organization has focused on re-signing its own players rather than spending big on the open market.

Sure, the Patriots have made a handful of additions with quarterback Jacoby Brissett, running back Antonio Gibson, wide receiver K.J. Osborn and veteran offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor among the most notable. But there remain questions along the offensive line and inside the receiver room. Even the cornerback group and defensive front, while headlined by second-year coverman Christian Gonzalez and recently-paid Christian Barmore, respectively, present some levels of uncertainty.

Patriots fans probably shouldn’t expect New England to do much in the next few weeks, though. And the reasoning boils down to something Eliot Wolf, New England’s executive vice president of football operations, said in February.

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“I think there’s going to be more reliance on playing young players,” Wolf said during his first-ever press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I think it’s really important to play young players and develop from within.”

I think it’s really important to play young players and develop from within.

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Eliot Wolf

That’s why the Patriots haven’t signed veteran offensive tackles like Donovan Smith or Jason Peters, or cornerbacks like Stephon Gilmore and Xavien Howard. Similarly, the Patriots seemingly would rather develop rookie receivers Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker as opposed to signing someone like Hunter Renfrow or Michael Thomas.

Would those aforementioned free agents or others help New England’s 2024 roster depth? There’s an argument to be made some of them could. But the Patriots have had months to come to terms with a player like Lawrence Guy, Smith and Gilmore. It certainly seems like that’s not in the cards.

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Instead, New England will see what it can get from second-year cornerback Alex Austin, rookie offensive tackle Caedan Wallace, defensive lineman Keion White and an interior offensive line filled with first- and second-year contributors, among others.

Wolf explained as much five months ago.

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