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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue Apr 16 - 02:00 PM | Thu Apr 18 - 11:55 AM

2024 Free Agent Forecast: Cornerback

The new NFL league year begins Wednesday, March 13, and with it, the advent of 2024’s free agency marketplace. Leading up to that day, we’ll examine the landscape from a Patriots perspective. Today, we analyze the cornerbacks.

Patriots defensive back Myles Bryant (27).
Patriots defensive back Myles Bryant (27).

Patriots Free Agents: Myles Bryant

Notable External Free Agents: Stephon Gilmore, Kenny Moore, Jaylon Johnson, Kristian Fulton

Position Analysis: Cornerback is one of the more interesting positions on the Patriots roster. At the top of the depth chart Jonathan Jones returns after a strong season despite battling through an early knee injury. Opposite from Jones, Christian Gonzalez’s return will be highly anticipated. Gonzalez played just 209 defensive snaps before he was lost for the year with a shoulder injury. He still was able to lock down the AFC Defensive Rookie of the Month honors after a strong debut right out of the gate. Jones and Gonzalez are a really solid place to start but beyond them there are plenty of questions.

Myles Bryant is due to hit free agency and has been an underrated and valuable member of the secondary, especially in the slot. Marcus Jones should also return from injury to offer another slot option but Jones has yet to prove he can be a consistent defensive contributor. Though Jonathan Jones can slide inside on third down, the Patriots could still use another option with quickness for the inside of the formation.

Patriots cornerback Isaiah  (7).
Patriots cornerback Isaiah  (7).

On the outside, Shaun Wade finally got some valuable experience in 2023 that should set him up well to compete for a roster spot in 2024. Isaiah Bolden has intriguing height and speed and showed promise before a concussion in Week 2 of the preseason cost him the entirety of his rookie year. Marco Wilson was claimed off waivers late last season and saw 10 snaps in the season finale against the Jets. He has good size and started 37 games for the Cardinals.

There's some depth behind Jones and Gonzalez, but it's largely unproven and that's why an addition of a reliable third option could motivate the Patriots to mine free agency.

Stephon Gilmore is 33 and has been kicking around the league since leaving New England but could still offer a lot to the defense as a third corner to complement Jones and Gonzalez. But perhaps sticking with a youth movement is the best use of the team's cap dollars. An experienced and tough slot like Indy's Kenny Moore could be fit for a return to the team that gave him his first training camp opportunity, especially if the team does not retain Bryant and doesn't want to put all their hopes on Marcus Jones.

Certainly there are needs at cornerback, but they're more about depth and injury protection than acquiring a top option to play every snap. The top slot job is one to watch.

DISCLAIMER: The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the writer and don't necessarily reflect those of the organization. Read Full Disclaimer

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