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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue Apr 16 - 02:00 PM | Wed Apr 17 - 09:55 AM

2024 Patriots Free Agent Tracker

Tracking all of the Patriots transactions during the free agent signing period.

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PATRIOTS FREE AGENTS

Restricted Free Agents: Tre Nixon (ERFA).

Unrestricted Free Agents: J.C. Jackson, Adrian Phillips (released in February), Ezekiel Elliott, Lawrence Guy (released in February), Terez Hall

Transition Tag: Kyle Dugger

ARRIVALS

S Jaylinn Hawkins - Officially Signed | Press Release

Analysis: A 2020 fourth-round pick of the Falcons, Hawkins emerged to start all 16 games for Atlanta in 2022. However, he was phased out of the defense in 2023 and released, eventually catching on with the Chargers. He's a solid depth player at safety, while also offering potential special teams contributions.

WR K.J. Osborn - Reported Signed by NFL Network | Full Report

Analysis: Osborn offers the Patriots an insurance policy in the "Z" role with wideout Kendrick Bourne coming off an ACL injury. Although he's optimistic about his recovery, Bourne tore his ACL in the Patriots loss to the Dolphins on Oct. 29, 2023. That could mean a slower ramp-up for Bourne heading into the 2024 season, while Osborn could also factor in on three-receiver sets as the third receiver with inside-outside versatility to line up in various spots.

TE Austin Hooper - Officially Signed | Full Report | Press Release

Analysis: The 29-year-old joins starting tight end Hunter Henry to give New England veteran stability at the position. After making the Pro Bowl in consecutive seasons with the Falcons, Hooper joined new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt in Cleveland for two seasons, tallying 84 catches, 780 yards, and seven touchdowns in Van Pelt's offense during the 2020-21 seasons.

RB Antonio Gibson - Officially Signed | Full Report | Press Release

Analysis: The Patriots are inking the former Commanders running back to a three-year deal, per multiple reports. Gibson's value is in his versatility, where he combines 4.39-speed and above-average receiving skills to be a factor in passing situations. The former third-round pick has 40-plus catches in four consecutive seasons, including a 48-catch campaign in 2023. With Gibson in the fold, the receiving back could return to the Patriots offense.

OT Chukwuma Okorafor - Officially Signed | Analysis | Press Release

Analysis: Okorafor should be viewed as a high-end swing tackle or a low-end starter at right tackle. New England only has Conor McDermott, Vederian Lowe, Andrew Stueber, and Calvin Anderson under contract at offensive tackle. Okorafor is an upgrade over that group, with more experience and better physical traits to start games if necessary.

QB Jacoby Brissett - Reportedly Signed | Full Report

Analysis: The Patriots are reuniting with their 2016 third-round pick Jacoby Brissett, reportedly bringing the veteran quarterback back to New England on a one-year deal. Following the reported trade of Mac Jones, the move makes a lot of sense. Brissett played under Alex Van Pelt in Cleveland in 2022 and has familiarity with his system. A welcome locker room addition, Brissett can at least hold the fort while a potential younger quarterback develops behind him. It was a move that made too much sense for the team not to happen.

LB Sione Takitaki - Officially Signed | Full Report | Press Release

Analysis: Takitaki has been a special teams ace for the Browns since being taken in the third round of the 2019 draft, but elevated to a more significant role on defense in 2022 and 2023, playing over 60 percent of the defensive snaps while seeing his special teams role reduced. His reported signing will provide valuable rotational depth both on defense and on special teams, offering a solid replacement for Mack Wilson, who reportedly joined the Cardinals on Monday.

DL Armon Watts - Reportedly signed (Tom Pelissero)

Analysis: The Patriots needed an influx of depth along the defensive line after the release of Lawrence Guy and Watts gives them just that. He has a good space-eating frame like Guy did and 22 career starts for three different teams, with Pittsburgh being his most recent stop last season. The former Vikings sixth-round pick is 27 and will have a chance to compete for not just a roster spot but a role on the defensive line.

OL Nick Leverett - Reportedly signed (Jeremy Fowler)

Analysis: Leverett started 10 games at left guard for the Bucs in 2022, protecting Tom Brady in his last season. The five-year vet has been a backup in Tampa and will provide valuable experienced depth as Cole Strange recovers from a 2023 knee injury that is expected to hamper him into spring OTAs.



RETURNING

WR Kendrick Bourne - Officially Re-Signed | Press Release | Bio

Analysis: The Patriots agreed to a three-year deal to retain Bourne after he was on-pace to have a career year in 2023. Unfortunately, Bourne's season ended when he tore his ACL against the Dolphins last October. However, the expectation is that Bourne is on track to contribute next season. New England still needs to upgrade its wide receiver room, but keeping Bourne gives them proven veteran depth.

TE Hunter Henry - Officially Extended | Analysis | Press Release | Bio

Analysis: According to the NFL Network, the Patriots signed Henry to a three-year deal on Friday before Free Agency opens. It's a no-brainer move, as the tight end market was fairly sparse and Henry has been outstanding both on and off the field in his three years with the team.

CB Alex Austin - Officially Re-Signed | Press Release | Bio

Analysis: Austin was claimed off waivers in November 2023 and went on to appear in five games with the Patriots, picking up an interception against the Bills in Week 17, the team that had drafted him in the seventh round before cutting him at the end of training camp. Austin provides valuable depth at cornerback after making strides on defense during his brief time in New England. Still just 22, Austin could be a dark horse to contribute this season.

OL Tyrone Wheatley Jr. - Officially Re-Signed | Press Release | Bio

Analysis: Wheatley has yet to make his NFL game debut but is an athletic tackle who provides good depth at a major position of need this offseason. If he can make strides in his development it would be a major bonus for the Patriots, who don't currently have an established left tackle on the roster.

OL Michael Onwenu - Officially Signed | Analysis | Press Release | Bio

Analysis: The Patriots reportedly retain one of their best draft picks of recent seasons, locking up Michael Onwenu on a lucrative multi-year deal. Onwenu is a versatile offensive lineman, but fits best at guard where the team will likely aim to play him full-time if they can re-establish their tackle depth. It's a quality re-signing and one that sends a good message about the Patriots plans to implement a draft, develop and retain approach to team building.

Jalen Reagor - Officially Extended | Press Release | Analysis | Bio

Analysis: Reagor didn't make much of an impact as a receiver after being promoted from the practice squad last season, grabbing just seven catches in 11 games, but made his impact felt in Buffalo when he returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. A former first-round pick, Reagor has good speed but has never fully put it all together. The Patriots continue to look for more explosiveness from the offensive grouping, perhaps a second year in New England will be the charm for Reagor.

Edge Josh Uche - Officially Extended | Press Release | Analysis | Bio

Analysis: Uche's production fell off in 2023 but he remains a highly athletic edge rusher who can track down the most mobile quarterbacks. An internally developed player, the 2020 second-rounder will have a chance to bounce back in 2024 and earn a more robust market, though reports indicate that Uche chose a return to the Patriots over more lucrative offers elsewhere. With him back in the mix the Patriots can take a designated pass rusher off the list of needs for this spring.

Edge Anfernee Jennings - Reportedly Extended | Full Report

Analysis: Jennings had a breakout 2023 with 14 tackles-for-loss after seeing his playtime increased to offset the loss of Matthew Judon. His emergence help him reportedly land a three-year pact where he can continue to lead the way as a stout edge-setting presence and emerging playmaker.

LB Christian Elliss - Officially Re-Signed | Press Release

QB Nathan Rourke - Officially Re-Signed | Press Release

Tyrone Wheatley Jr. - Officially Re-Signed | Press Release



DEPARTURES

QB Mac Jones - Traded to Jacksonville | Analysis | Press Release

Analysis: The Mac Jones era in New England is reportedly over. The Patriots dealt their former starting quarterback to the Jaguars for a sixth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The 2021 first-round pick had a promising rookie season where he quarterbacked the Patriots to the playoffs. However, a combination of his limitations and missteps from the team to build on Jones's rookie season led to a steep drop-off in years two and three. A fresh start was expected for the Patriots and Jones, with New England now squarely in the quarterback market this offseason.

WR DeVante Parker - Released | Full Report | Press Release

Analysis: The Patriots will be moving on from their starting X-receiver according to Adam Schefter. It's a disappointing turn after Parker signed an extension with the team last summer. Parker had some moments during his two seasons with New England, but was inconsistent in his availability and his performance. As the team looks to upgrade their receiving core, they now have a major open spot to fill on the outside.

LB Mack Wilson - Reportedly signing a three-year deal with the Cardinals (Mike Reiss) | Full Report

Analysis: Wilson came on strong at the end of last season as he moved to more of a role on the edge where his athleticism could shine. The linebacker used that performance as a springboard to a three-year deal with the Cardinals according to Mike Reiss. The Patriots have good interior depth with Ja'Whaun Bentley, Jahlani Tavai and Raekwon McMillan, but had tried to retain Wilson. According to MassLive's Mark Daniels they were outbid by Arizona for his services.

TE Mike Gesicki - Reportedly signing a one-year deal with the Bengals (Adam Schefter) | Full Report

Analysis: Gesicki had just 29 catches and two touchdowns in his single season with the Patriots, but one of those touchdowns was a memorable one, the game-winner against the Bills. After re-signing Hunter Henry, the team could look to the draft to round out their tight end core, finding an athletic piece who won't have to carry in-line blocking responsibilities.

DB Jalen Mills - Reportedly signing a one-year deal with the Giants (Adam Schefter) | Full Report

Analysis: Mills saw declines in his playing time in each of the last two seasons after playing 90 percent of the defensive snaps at cornerback in his first year with the Pats, 2021. Last year, he moved to more of a safety role, playing just 40 percent of snaps. His reported departure opens up more opportunities in the secondary for younger players like Marte Mapu.

OT Trent Brown - Signed with Cincinnati Bengals

Analysis: Brown's departure was not unexpected but it still leaves a major hole at the important left tackle position. He played in just 11 games last year with eight starts, as the team will now look for a new player to fill his spot after three years on the blindside.

DB Myles Bryant - Signed with Houston Texans

Analysis: After initially signing as an undrafted rookie in 2020, Bryant developed into a solid contributor as a slot corner and part-time safety in the Patriots defense. Bryant had his warts in man coverage, where he struggled to stay glued to more dynamic receivers. But he was a smart, tough, and versatility defensive back who played 851 snaps in 2023. The Patriots have in-house candidates such as Marcus Jones to take over his role as the primary nickel DB.

LB Chris Board - Signed with Baltimore Ravens | Press Release

Analysis: Board was released and signed with the Ravens, leaving a major hole on the Patriots special teams. He played 89 percent of the special teams snaps in his one season with the Patriots.

ST Cody Davis - Announced retirement.

Analysis: Davis played 11 games in 2023 and 69 percent of the special teams snaps. His retirement will open up opportunities for other players to step into his significant special teams role.

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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