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Patriots 2022 Free Agency Primer

Here's everything you need to know before the free agency frenzy begins on Monday!

From left to right: Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson (12), Seattle Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner (54) amd Patriots CB J.C. Jackson (27).
From left to right: Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson (12), Seattle Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner (54) amd Patriots CB J.C. Jackson (27).

The NFL's Free Agency tampering period opens on Monday, which means that moves will start happening quickly even if the league year doesn't technically start until Wednesday.

For the Patriots, there's once again plenty to digest and while 2022 likely won't be the same kind of spending frenzy that 2021 was, the team has a significant number of impact free agents who will either have to be retained or replaced.

Before the free agency frenzy kicks in here's everything you need to know about where the Patriots stand and what could be coming over the next week.

Top row (left to right): Patriots CB J.C. Jackson (27) and S Devin McCourty (32), WR Jakobi Meyers (16). Bottom row (left to right): RB James White (28), LB Dont'a Hightower (54).
Top row (left to right): Patriots CB J.C. Jackson (27) and S Devin McCourty (32), WR Jakobi Meyers (16). Bottom row (left to right): RB James White (28), LB Dont'a Hightower (54).

Patriots Free Agents

Restricted Free Agents: Jakobi Meyers (reportedly tendered 2nd round level), Gunner Olszewski, Jakob Johnson

Unrestricted Free Agents: J.C. Jackson, Dont'a Hightower, Devin McCourty (reportedly re-signed), Trent Brown, Ja'Whaun Bentley, Ted Karras, James White, Nick Folk, Brandon King, Matthew Slater, Brandon Bolden, Jamie Collins, Brian Hoyer (reportedly re-signed), Carl Davis, James Ferentz (reportedly re-signed)

Positional Free Agency Breakdowns

Here are Patriots.com's full free agency positional breakdowns featuring analysis of each position and potential fits:

Cap Space

According to Patriots cap guru Miguel Benzan, the team has close to $10.2 million in cap space to work with as free agency approaches. While this is a low number, Benzan also lays out multiple ways the Patriots could open up some more cap space to give them a bit more freedom to make moves. Kyle Van Noy's release last week is one of the moves that has already happened.

Top Needs

Cornerback - With the potential departure of J.C. Jackson, the cornerback position will be a position of significant need, with just Jalen Mills and Jonathan Jones left as the only experienced starters at the position remaining, with Myles Bryant also still ascending.

Top FA Fits: Charvarius Ward, Donte Jackson, Jason Verrett, Kyle Fuller, Desmond King

Offensive Line - The free-agent status of Trent Brown and Ted Karras could open up holes at starting left guard and right tackle as well. Michael Onwenu is waiting in the wings and could be elevated to one of the spots, most likely at his college position, guard. Both Brown and Karras would make sense to return, but the long-term need at tackle will remain as Isaiah Wynn enters the final year of his rookie deal.

Top FA Fits: Morgan Moses, Nate Solder, A.J. Cann

Linebacker - With Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Ja'Whaun Bentley all hitting free agency and Kyle Van Noy's release, there could be significant needs along the edges and at inside linebacker. There are a number of young players and veterans unproven in New England waiting in the wings though. Will the Pats turn things over to them? Or be active on the open market and in the draft despite that existing depth?

Top FA Fits: Bobby Wagner, De'Vondre Campbell, Leighton Vander Esche, Josey Jewell, Anthony Barr

Wide Receiver - Assuming Jakobi Meyers is tagged as a restricted free agent, all four of the Patriots' top receivers should return, yet the team has been connected to many of the top receivers on the open market as the team continues to build around Mac Jones. Securing a number one receiver on the open market can be risky, but there are some notable options, along with a draft class that is also stacked.

Top FA Fits: Allen Robinson, Robby Anderson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, D.J. Chark, Jamison Crowder, DaeSean Hamilton

Running Back - The Patriots have two very promising backs in Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson that give them a solid one-two punch, but with James White hitting free agency, the need for a third-down pass-catching back could be another effective way to elevate the offense around Jones. A return for White would make sense, but the long-term need would remain.

Top FA Fits: Marlon Mack, J.D. McKissic

Patriots Rumor Mill

Here are some of the latest Patriots rumors around the NFL as the new league year approaches.

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