How should Pats use their cap space?

With so many holes on the roster to fill, the list of New England Patriots free agent targets figures to be a mile long this offseason.

The good news is that the Pats are among the leaders in cap space heading into 2024. That should allow them to be aggressive and overhaul a roster that needs reinforcements.

Free Agents the Patriots Should Pursue

But who will be the Patriots’ free-agent targets? What positions will be the priority and what players will be a good fit? With a new head coach, those aren’t necessarily easy questions to answer.

Nevertheless, we came up with a list of free agents for the Patriots to pursue to get a better idea of what they should do with all of their cap space.

Hunter Henry

Hunter Henry tops the list of upcoming Patriots free agents who the team would like to re-sign. It’s probably not worthwhile to use the franchise tag on him, but the Pats need to make an effort to keep him in New England.

With better quarterback play, Henry’s production can surely improve from what we’ve seen over the past couple of years. The team’s other tight ends are also free agents, so this is a position the Pats will need to address this offseason. They might as well start by bringing back Henry.

Mike Evans

Assuming the Patriots draft a quarterback, they need to bring in a bonafide no. 1 receiver. New England’s struggles to draft or trade for a top-flight receiver are well documented. By going after Mike Evans in free agency, the Pats will have a sure thing.

While age isn’t working in his favor, Evans has gone over 1,000 receiving yards in all 10 of his NFL seasons. He’ll become a security blanket no matter who is New England’s quarterback next season, making Evans an obvious free-agent target.

Curtis Samuel

One wide receiver probably won’t be enough, so Curtis Samuel should be on New England’s radar as well. Compared to Evans, he’s a smaller and quicker receiver, making him a good complement to a bigger receiver.

Samuel may not be a superstar, but he’s in the prime of his career and would surely be an upgrade to the receivers in New England over the last few years.

Austin Ekeler

Heading into free agency, Austin Ekeler’s stock is down after a disappointing 2023 campaign. But his track record suggests that he’s still capable of being a productive two-way back who can run between the tackles and catch passes.

With his size, Ekeler probably shouldn’t be signed as a feature back. But he would be an excellent complement to Rhamondre Stevenson. Those two have complementary skill sets, so signing Ekeler could positively reshape the New England backfield.

Jacoby Brissett

Even if the Patriots draft a quarterback, they’ll still need to bring in a veteran to serve as a backup and mentor. Just look at the success the Colts had with Gardner Minshew backing up Anthony Richardson last year. Why not bring back an old friend like Jacoby Brissett?

Obviously, Brissett is not a long-term answer for any team. But he can be a reliable backup for a rookie and start a few games for the Patriots next season if needed, making him a good option if the Pats decide to move on from Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe.

Mekhi Becton

While he’s had a relatively disappointing career to this point, Mekhi Becton is a player the Patriots should consider pursuing. Despite being injury-prone, he’s a former first-round pick who will only be 25 at the start of the 2024 season.

There is plenty of time for Becton to turn things around and fulfil his potential. Both of New England’s starting offensive tackles from this past season are free agents, so Becton fills an obvious need and offers some upside.

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