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Analysis: Best available remaining free agents 

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Although we’re barely a full day into the 2019 NFL league year, the free agent signing period, for all intents and purposes, has been going strong since Monday. Many of the most high-profile players have already decided where they’ll be playing this season. New England has lost a couple of big-name starters in DE Trey Flowers (Detroit) and LT Trent Brown (Oakland), but retained CB Jason McCourty.

As is often the case with the Patriots, the defending Super Bowl champion have come out of the gates focusing more on keeping valuable depth players such as DE John Simon, WR Phillip Dorsett, and restricted free agent CB Jonathan Jones. However, they’ve also swung a trade with Philadelphia for DE Michael Bennett, a move that was officially announced by the team late Thursday morning.

It’s not at all unusual for New England to take more of a wait-and-see approach when it comes to veteran signings this time of year, as other clubs throw record sums of money at players to entice them to switch jerseys. But it’s not as if there aren’t still potentially talented acquisitions the Patriots can make in the days ahead. Here’s a list of veteran free agents who are still available at positions of need for New England:

Pass Rusher (DE/OLB)

Justin Houston, Clay Matthews, Alex Okafor, Ziggy Ansah

Defensive Line

Johnathan Hankins, Muhammad Wilkerson

Tight End

Jared Cook, Jermaine Gresham

Wide Receiver

Randall Cobb

Safety

Eric Berry

Running Back

Jay Ajayi, T.J. Yeldon

Cornerback

Bashaud Breeland, Morris Claiborne

Linebacker

Zach Brown, Jamie Collins

It should also be noted that, at this point, both of New England’s special teams free agents – kicker Stephen Gostkowski and punter Ryan Allen – remain unsigned. Both men could receive offers elsewhere, but could also end up returning to Foxborough sooner or later.

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