A new era has dawned in New England with Jerod Mayo taking over at head coach last week and charting a new course toward the 2024 season. After a disappointing 4-13 finish to 2023, the Patriots are well positioned to rebuild their roster with a significant amount of available salary cap space and their highest draft pick in over 30 years.
Here's a quick rundown of what to expect this offseason as Mayo begins to remake his staff and put his plans into place to get New England back in the playoff hunt.
College All-Star Games
The offseason team-building schedule will get fully underway next week with the two biggest college All-Star games, the Shrine Bowl and Senior Bowl. Last year, the Patriots coaching staff coached one team in the Shrine Bowl, while defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington was part of the coaching staff in Mobile, Alabama at the Senior Bowl. As always, plenty of attention will be focused on these collections of draftable talent.
The Shrine Bowl offers more potential late-round selections, and the Patriots made the most of their up-close experience with the prospects at the game last year by selecting DeMario Douglas and Atonio Mafi, who both made solid contributions as rookies.
The Senior Bowl traditionally has more top-rated prospects and this year intriguing quarterbacks Michael Penix and Bo Nix are both expected to at least take part in practices for the National team. Patriots wide receiver coach Troy Brown will serve as the American team's offensive coordinator. Last offseason Brown served as one of the head coaches in the Shrine Bowl and will continue to build on that external experience in 2024.
Shrine Bowl practices will take place January 29 and 30, with the game being played on Thursday, February 1. The Senior Bowl's practices will occur from January 30 – February 1, with the game being played on Saturday, February 3.
Finally, the HBCU Combine and Legacy Bowl will close things out on February 24 from New Orleans. Last year the Patriots were the only team to select a player from the HBCU, Jackson State's Isaiah Bolden. Former Patriots Director of Personnel Scott Pioli will serve as one of the game's analysts.
For additional information on all of the all-star games, visit:
NFL Scouting Combine
The NFL Scouting Combine will return to Indianapolis in early March with NFL coaches, executive and scouts descending upon the Indianapolis Convention Center to test and question the huge collection of draftable players, including most of the top-rated talent.
The Combine will be a highlight of Patriots.com's 2024 offseason, as a robust content team will produce multiple videos, podcasts and write-ups covering everything Patriots from Indy as the team zeroes in on their options at third overall and beyond.
While Patriots coaches and executives have declined to speak with the media from the Combine in the past, Jerod Mayo's arrival could signal a change in protocol and provide an opportunity for the new head coach to check in as free agency approaches.
The first day of the new league year will be March 13 and, as always, the Patriots feature an interesting crop of internal free agents, headlined by Kyle Dugger, Michael Onwenu and Josh Uche, but also including reliable veteran tight end Hunter Henry and emerging edge defender Anfernee Jennings, among others.
With a projected $73 million in cap space to play with (according to @PatsCap), the team will have to balance how they fill their roster holes between their own players and those external free agents also set to hit the market.
Positional needs at offensive tackle and tight end highlight critical areas that must be filled with some kind of personnel prior to the draft.
Top external free agents around the league include Kansas City's defensive lineman Chris Jones, Cincinnati receiver Tee Higgins and Carolina edge rusher Brian Burns.
NFL Owner's Meetings
We'll get to hear from head coach Jerod Mayo and team chairman/CEO Robert Kraft from Orlando, Florida in late March as part of the NFL's Owner's Meetings. Rule changes will be among the many things discussed there, as it will also be a chance to check in with the new Patriots regime following the initial weeks of Free Agency.
With the new coach the team will be allowed to begin their offseason workout program earlier this year, starting April 1. That's a two-week head start on teams with returning head coaches.
The 2024 NFL Draft will take place in Detroit and the Patriots will be one of the key players as they select third-overall, their highest pick since selecting Drew Bledsoe first overall in 1993. The Pats are currently projected with seven picks, including one in each of the first five rounds and then two in the seventh round. They are not expected to receive any further compensatory draft picks which are calculated based on free agent departures.
Still, even with just seven picks, New England should have plenty of capital to move around the draft board. Even a simple trade down from third overall to a few spots later could fetch a hefty ransom that could not only round out 2024's picks but add even more value into 2025.
OTAs & Minicamp
Following the conclusion of the draft the team can be expected to hold a collection of OTA practices that will be open to the media, culminating with a three-day minicamp in mid-June. Last season, the team held three open OTA practices and two minicamp practices that offered an early glimpse of how the squad was coming together.
Patriots training camp for 2024 can be expected to open in late July, likely around Thursday July 25th. As always, it's a great way to get an up-close and free look at the team. Check Patriots.com for an official practice schedule in July as the team gets ready to embark on the 2024 season.