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2020 Patriots Free Agent Forecast: Defensive Backfield

Scanning the horizon of 2020 free agency.


The new NFL year begins Wednesday, March 18, and with it, the advent of 2020's free agent marketplace. Leading up to that first day, we'll examine the landscape from a Patriots perspective, continuing with defensive backs.


Devin McCourty

Nate Ebner


Corners: Eli Apple (New Orleans Saints), Bashaud Breeland (Kansas City Chiefs), Ronald Darby (Philadelphia Eagles), Chris Harris (Denver Broncos), Byron Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Bradley Roby (Houston Texans), Logan Ryan (Tennessee Titans), Jimmy Smith (Baltimore Ravens), Aqib Talib (Miami Dolphins), Trae Waynes (Minnesota Vikings)

Safeties: Von Bell (New Orleans Saints), Tre Boston (Carolina Panthers), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Chicago Bears), Anthony Harris (Minnesota Vikings), Jeff Heath (Dallas Cowboys), Karl Joseph (Las Vegas Raiders), Rodney McLeod (Philadelphia Eagles), Damarious Randall (Cleveland Browns), Justin Simmons (Denver Broncos), Jimmie Ward (San Francisco 49ers)


Corners: Darby, Jones, Ryan, 

Safeties: Clinton-Dix, Harris, Ward, DeAndre Houston-Carson (Chicago Bears)


New England's cornerback position is fairly solid with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore as the anchor of the Patriots' secondary. There's also young, emerging talent in J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones. However, if the team wants to bolster the position further with another established veteran, almost any of the available crop this year would suffice. Ryan is a natural possibility, given his original NFL history with the club. Darby and Jones might also be more affordable options than some of the higher-profile names on this year's list.

New England Patriots DB Devin Mccourty
New England Patriots DB Devin Mccourty

At safety, much depends on what McCourty does. If he doesn't remain with New England, a player like Ward could be a suitable replacement. He's in his prime and coming off a standout performance in Super Bowl LIV. Clinton-Dix is even younger than Ward, though more experienced in the NFL. Harris and the underutilized Houston-Carson could be names to remember as well, as the former came into his own defensively last season with Minnesota, and the latter has special teams versatility, which the Patriots always covet.

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