As evidenced by the trade of Julio Jones to the Titans over the weekend, NFL rosters never stop churning over, even in early June as most teams are wrapping up their offseason team activities. Despite the Patriots having an active March and April, adding a significant number of free agents and rookies, there's still some intriguing names out there that could fill some potential holes on the roster.
After two weeks of OTAs, it would appear there are some areas of concern like running back, cornerback and offensive tackle. There's also a chance to take a flier on a veteran who might recapture some magic in New England, even at a position where it appears the team might be pretty well set.
Looking back to 2001 and the Patriots' first Super Bowl run and quite a few notable names like Antowain Smith, Brian Cox and Roman Phifer were not added until the summer and ended up playing sizable roles on a championship team. Here are some similar names that could make sense to round out the team's depth.
Mitchell Schwartz - Offensive Tackle: The Patriots have had some clear depth issues at the tackle position in OTAs and could consider adding the veteran Schwartz, who is coming off a back injury, the first major injury of his career. The experienced right tackle would add another level of stability on the edges of the offense. Morgan Moses is another option who has had a solid five years with the Jets playing right tackle. He's still just 30.
Melvin Ingram - Defensive End: The Patriots made some major moves along the front seven this offseason and now have a deep group that includes proven veterans and promising youngsters, but Ingram is the kind of player you can't ignore. He played just seven games in 2020 due to a knee injury but should injuries strike the edges of the Patriots defense, Ingram could be a nice late addition. It wouldn't be the first time Bill Belichick took a chance on a Charger many thought was done. Justin Houston is another free agent with similar name recognition.
Duke Johnson - Running Back: Still just 28, Johnson has experience with some of New England's offense after playing under Bill O'Brien for two seasons. The Patriots have had just two running backs fully participating in OTAs and looked toward Tyler Gaffney to help out. Johnson could offer a bit more potential, especially if another injury befalls the group, he's a pretty well-balanced back.
Alshon Jeffery - Wide Receiver: Jeffery is coming off a down year in Philadelphia, but has the kind of size to help as an outside receiver. He's 31 and wouldn't take the top off of the defense, but his length and experience could provide a different kind of boost to the receiver corps. After all these years it's also hard to ignore Larry Fitzgerald, as sometimes Hall of Fame players just happen to find their way to Foxborough for August.
Dre Kirkpatrick - Cornerback: The former 2012 first-round pick out of Alabama reportedly visited the Patriots recently and it would be a move that isn't hard to fathom. Kirkpatrick spent last season with Cardinals starting 11 games and has the man coverage skills necessary to fit into New England's scheme. Richard Sherman isn't the same fit but is a big free-agent name to monitor regardless.