Patriots 2024 Free Agents: S Kyle Dugger, WR Kendrick Bourne, RB Ezekiel Elliott, and EDGE Josh Uche Hitting the Market

Bill Belichick isn't running the Patriots' front office for the first time in a quarter-century. Which 2024 internal free agents will New England consider in March?

The New England Patriots have plenty of free agent decisions to make and nearly $80 million in cap space to spend in 2024. With Bill Belichick out of the picture, first-year head coach Jerod Mayo and personnel chief Eliot Wolf will make decisions on the Patriots’ internal free agents.

Who Are the New England Patriots’ Upcoming Free Agents?

S Kyle Dugger

Like many of the Patriots’ 2024 free agents, Kyle Dugger was regularly discussed as a potential trade candidate leading up to the Oct. 31 deadline. But New England didn’t move Dugger (or anyone else), clearing an avenue for possible extension talks.

MORE: New England Patriots Depth Chart

The former second-round pick has filled up the stat sheet since entering the NFL in 2020, posting nine interceptions (two TDs), 20 pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, and 17 tackles for loss over four seasons with the Pats. Dugger is precisely the kind of versatile defensive back that New England has always valued.

Can Dugger become a top-10 highest-paid safety? That would require a $13 million annual salary, which could be challenging for Dugger to land given that he’ll be entering his age-28 campaign as a first-time free agent. A crowded 2024 safety class that includes Antoine Winfield Jr., Kam Curl, Grant Delpit, Geno Stone, and others could also reduce Dugger’s market value.

EDGE Josh Uche

Pass rusher Josh Uche appears to have been the 2024 Patriots free agent closest to being traded at the deadline. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated the Seattle Seahawks were in “pretty deep” talks to acquire Uche before adding defensive tackle Leonard Williams from the New York Giants.

Uche was relatively quiet during his first two NFL campaigns before breaking out with 11.5 sacks in 2022. While he doesn’t have the same sack production this season, Uche has still managed a 15% pressure rate, in line with other premier edge rushers.

However, he’s dealt with injury issues every season of his career. Uche played a career-high 374 defensive snaps last year but failed to reach that total in 2023. Designated pass rushers can get paid on the open market, but Uche won’t reach the $13+ million range that every-down players attain.

OL Mike Onwenu and Trent Brown

New England’s offensive line has battled injuries and ineffectiveness all season long. Two key members of the club’s front five are scheduled to reach the open market in 2024.

Mike Onwenu has bounced around the Pats’ offensive line throughout his career, he spent most of 2023 at right tackle. That should help Onwenu’s free agent stock — not only are tackles paid more than guards, but the 2024 OT class is extremely weak.

At 30, Trent Brown is five years older than Onwenu and has a lengthier injury history. Still, 6’8″, 370-pound dancing bears don’t grow on trees. Brown signed a two-year, $13 million contract last time he hit free agency. Another deal in the same range (and adjusted for the cap) might make sense for Brown and the Pats.

RB Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott was one of the few New England 2024 free agents who didn’t receive any interest at the trade deadline — and that’s hardly surprising, given that the 28-year-old posted just 3.5 yards per carry last season.

While Elliott can still play a role in short-yardage and goal-line situations, he will again face the realities of life as a free agent NFL running back this offseason. He probably won’t find a $3 million offer waiting for him like he did last summer.

WR Kendrick Bourne

Injuries are inevitable in pro football, but it’s always tough to see a pending free agent go down in their contract year. Kendrick Bourne had re-entered the Patriots wide receiver pecking order after being marginalized in 2023, but a torn ACL in Week 9 put a damper on his FA stock.

Bourne will be entering his age-29 season while coming off a serious knee injury. Hopefully, he’ll find a team willing to bet on his return, but he’s unlikely to see much more than incentive-based offers in 2024.

TEs Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki

With visions of 12 personnel running through his head, Belichick spent big to add tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith during the 2021 offseason. Henry lasted longer than Smith, who was dealt to the Atlanta Falcons last year.

MORE: 2024 NFL Free Agents by Position

Henry’s first season in New England — 50-603-9  — was a success, and he slightly rebounded last year after a down 2022. But the Patriots will probably be looking for more TE juice this offseason, which rules out a possession receiver like Henry.

Fellow TE Mike Gesicki doesn’t figure to stick around, either. Even with New England desperate for pass catchers, Gesicki received just 45 targets and put up only 244 receiving yards.

Other Patriots 2024 Free Agents

  • RB Ty Montgomery
  • WR Jalen Reagor
  • TE Pharaoh Brown
  • OT Riley Reiff
  • EDGE Anfernee Jennings
  • LB Terez Hall (restricted free agent)
  • LB Mack Wilson
  • CB Myles Bryant
  • CB/S Jalen Mills
  • S Cody Davis
  • ST Matthew Slater

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