The New England Patriots have been running in place since Tom Brady left for Tampa Bay. After another not-terrible, not-great season, what’s next for Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick? We explore it all in our New England Patriots offseason preview, including the club’s 2023 free agents, cut candidates, and team needs.
New England Patriots Offseason Preview: An Offensive Offense
Assuming Belichick doesn’t do something crazy and retire — he’s probably two years away from passing Don Shula for most wins in NFL history, a record the GOAT surely wants to break — he needs to make some big changes in 2023.
The defense was outstanding, per usual. The offense? Not so much.
Mac Jones is a solid but limited player. He’s rarely going to cost the Pats wins, but he’s also probably not going to be the guy that carries them to a championship.
But assuming they don’t make a splash move, Jones and rookie fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe will be, in some order, QB1 and QB2 for New England in 2023.
That’ll be largely irrelevant if the Patriots don’t:
1. Improve their offensive scheme (with a new play-caller).
2. Improve their roster with game-breaking playmakers.
Patriots’ 2023 Salary Cap Space
According to Spotrac, the Patriots were under the 2023 salary cap by $49.8 million as of early January, giving them the fourth-most space in the NFL.
That figure includes $1.4 million in dead cap and $2.3 million in rollover space. It is based on an estimated $225 million NFL salary cap in 2023.
The exact cap figure will not be known until the NFL announces it in early March.
Patriots Free Agents 2023
The following Patriots players are set to hit free agency. (Restricted free agents are noted with the abbreviation RFA, exclusive rights free agents by ERFA.)
- WR Nelson Agholor
- CB Myles Bryant
- OT Yodny Cajuste
- RT Marcus Cannon
- LS Joe Cardona
- DT Carl Davis
- FS Cody Davis
- C James Ferentz
- RB Damien Harris
- CB Jonathan Jones
- FS Devin McCourty
- OT Conor McDermott
- ILB Raekwon McMillan
- WR Jakobi Meyers
- S Jabrill Peppers
- WR Matthew Slater
- CB Joejuan Williams
- LB Mack Wilson
- OT Isaiah Wynn
Cornerback Jonathan Jones
Spotrac’s calculated market value: Two years, $24.9 million ($12.4 million AAV)
Overview: If he didn’t allow a handful of touchdowns to be completed in his coverage area, Jones would have had one of the NFL’s best passer ratings against. He throttled almost every receiver he saw and had the most interceptions of his seven-year career.
Running Back Damien Harris
Spotrac’s calculated market value: Two years, $28.2 million ($7 million AAV)
Overview: Harris’ stats were way down in 2022, and while injuries were the No. 1 reason, they weren’t the only reason. The emergence of second-year back Rhamondre Stevenson and a negative impact on Harris’ usage. And don’t discount the loss of Josh McDaniels to Las Vegas. Harris would be a great fit if the Raiders don’t retain Josh Jacobs.
Potential Cut Candidates
- TE Hunter Henry ($10.5 million in cap savings)
- OT Trent Brown ($6.5 million)
- DT Lawrence Guy ($2.8 million)
Patriots’ Team Needs Heading Into 2023 Offseason
- Wide Receiver
- Defensive Tackle