It's time to assess the roster and figure out how Bill Belichick can get his team back to title contention.
We'll start with a roster overview analyzing what players are under contract and who is expected to be part of the 2022 Patriots. The team currently has 52 players under contract while several others are scheduled to become free agents on March 16 at the start of the new league year.
Here's a look at the breakdown by position:
Mac Jones (signed through 2024 with fifth-year option for 2025) – Jones is the team's current starting quarterback and will almost certainly remain in place next season.
Brian Hoyer (pending unrestricted free agent) – The veteran provided some guidance for Jones while serving as a sounding board for the rookie, but he is unlikely to return.
Jarrett Stidham (signed through 2022) – Stidham will enter the final year of his rookie deal and is healthy after undergoing back surgery. Assuming he's physically ready to go he should be the backup in 2022.
Damien Harris (signed through 2022) – Also entering the final year of his rookie deal, Harris enjoyed a productive season and should return as the lead ball carrier.
Rhamondre Stevenson (signed through 2024) – Stevenson showed plenty of promise as the 1B to Harris and should see his role expand next season.
Brandon Bolden (pending unrestricted free agent) – Bolden had his best season on offense, filling in for James White in the third-down back role and excelling. His return is not a given, though, as he just turned 32.
James White (pending unrestricted free agent) – White injured his hip in Week 3 and was lost for the season. He returned on a one-year deal last offseason and could do so again but he turns 30 on Feb. 3 and is coming off a major injury.
J.J. Taylor (signed through 2022) – Taylor didn't get many chances to contribute after a costly fumble against Tampa Bay. He had just 23 touches all season despite some injuries to the running back group. He'll be back for camp but his spot is not guaranteed.
Devine Ozigbo (signed through 2022) – Spent the last six weeks on the Patriots practice squad and signed a futures contract. He will spend the offseason in New England and get a chance to win a roster spot.
Jakob Johnson (pending restricted free agent) – Johnson's role was bigger than many anticipated as the run-heavy approach featured his punishing blocking frequently. He'll likely receive the lowest tender offer to stay in New England.
Jakobi Meyers (pending restricted free agent) – Meyers led the team with 83 catches for 866 yards and was productive throughout the season. A second-round tender should keep him in New England for another season.
Kendrick Bourne (signed through 2023) – Bourne was productive as well, averaging 14.5 yard per catch while grabbing five touchdowns. He'll remain a significant part of the offense in 2022.
Nelson Agholor (signed through 2022) – Agholor showed flashes but lacked consistency throughout the season. He never materialized into the deep threat many hoped for and his contract (cap hit of almost $15 million) makes him a candidate for a restructure.
N'Keal Harry (signed through 2022 with fifth-year option for 2023) – Harry has yet to produce in a meaningful way in three years and signs point toward the end of his time in New England. Perhaps a late-round pick via trade before the draft is best for both sides to give Harry a fresh start.
Gunner Olszewski (pending restricted free agent) – Olszewski was not as productive in the return game as he was in 2020 and has yet to offer much as an extra receiver. The lowest restricted tender should buy him some time to develop further.
Kristian Wilkerson (signed through 2022) – Wilkerson created a buzz with a two-touchdown performance against Jacksonville in Week 17 but otherwise spent most of his time in the practice squad. He'll get another chance to win a job next summer.
Tre Nixon (signed through 2022) – Like Wilkerson, Nixon spent the season on the practice squad and signed a futures deal. He'll need to have a more productive camp in order to stick around.
Jaylen Smith (free agent) – Smith was signed to the practice Jan. 10 but has yet to be offered a futures contract. Therefore he is currently a free agent.
Malcolm Perry (signed through 2022) - Signed to a futures contract on Jan. 17.
Hunter Henry (signed through 2023) – Henry provided solid production as a receiver, leading the team with nine touchdown receptions. He will be back as the top tight end in 2022.
Jonnu Smith (signed through 2024) – The other big-money free agent tight end did not produce as expected. Smith struggled as a receiver and was relegated to blocking duties most of the year. His cap hit rises near $14 million so he's a candidate to restructure.
Devin Asiasi (signed through 2023) – Asiasi was on the active roster all season but was active for just one game in what basically amounted to a red-shirt season. He will look to carve out a role in 2022.
Matt LaCosse (free agent) – LaCosse spent most of the year on the practice squad and became a free agent when the season ended. He could be re-signed for depth but is unlikely to be a significant piece on offense.
Dalton Keene (signed through 2023) – Keene was on IR all season after spending camp on PUP in what was a lost year. He's cheap and should get a chance to battle for a job in the offseason.
Troy Fumagalli (pending unrestricted free agent) – Fumagalli signed during camp and was injured before landing on IR for the season.
Isaiah Wynn (signed through 2022) – The Patriots picked up his fifth-year option so he's guaranteed to earn $10.4 million in 2022. Unless he's traded, Wynn will return.
Ted Karras (pending unrestricted free agent) – Karras returned to the team on a one-year deal and performed well as the starter at left guard. He's spoken highly of his time as a Patriot but it will likely take some additional cash to keep him.
David Andrews (signed through 2024) – The Patriots re-upped Andrews for four years last spring and he will remain the team's starting center moving forward.
Shaq Mason (signed through 2023) – Arguably the team's most consistent lineman in 2021, Mason's cap hit creeps above $10 million next season making a potential extension candidate. He also would be attractive on the trade market should the team decide to move on.
Trent Brown (pending unrestricted free agent) – Brown is a solid tackle but has battled injuries throughout his career. He missed half the season with a calf problem and will be tough to re-sign.
Mike Onwenu (signed through 2023) – Onwenu started at tackle and guard early in the season but wasn't as steady as he was as a rookie. He spent the last half of the season serving as an extra tight end but could still be poised for a starting job next season.
Justin Herron (signed through 2023) – Like Onwenu, Herron wasn't as solid as he was as a rookie but he stepped in and performed admirably at left tackle in place of Wynn in the playoffs. He will be back as well.
Yodny Cajuste (signed through 2022) – Injuries limited Cajuste to very little playing time in his three years in Foxborough. He'll get a chance to win a job during the offseason.
Yasir Durant (signed through 2022) – Acquired via trade at the start of the season, Durant struggled as a fill-in when Brown was out. Like Cajuste, he'll get a chance to win a job during the offseason.
Will Sherman (signed through 2022) – Spent the season on the practice squad and signed a futures deal after the season. He'll be in the large mix of players fighting for jobs.
Alex Redmond (pending unrestricted free agent) – The veteran was on the practice squad before an injury ended his season. He won't likely be back.
James Ferentz (pending unrestricted free agent) – Ferentz has been on and off the roster for several years but has proven to be reliable as an emergency fill-in. He won't likely be back unless injuries become a problem at some point.
Arlington Hambright (signed through 2022) – Hambright was signed to a futures contract on Jan. 18 and will enter the fray after spending the past two seasons in Chicago.
Lawrence Guy (signed through 2024) – Guy wasn't as consistent up front this season and the team struggled to stop the run as a result. He signed a four-year deal last offseason and will be back.
Davon Godchaux (signed through 2022) – Godchaux was brought in the help shore up the run defense and that did not happen. He's set for a $10.25 million cap hit and that's not a number the Patriots are likely happy with.
Christian Barmore (signed through 2024) – Solid rookie season, especially as a pass rusher. Barmore should be a mainstay up front for years to come.
Carl Davis (pending unrestricted free agent) – Davis provided some bulk up front but was inactive for the wild card game in Buffalo and is unlikely to return.
Deatrich Wise (signed through 2024) – Signed a four-year deal to stay last offseason and will be part of the DL rotation once again in 2022.
Daniel Ekuale (signed through 2022) – Signed to a futures contract on January 25. Ekuale flashed some ability as a frequent call-up from the practice squad and is worth bringing back for a longer look.
Byron Cowart (signed through 2024) – Cowart spent the season on IR after opening camp on PUP. If healthy he should return to battle for a job.
Henry Anderson (signed through 2022) – Anderson was added as depth up front but didn't see much playing time before landing on IR. He won't likely be back.
Bill Murray (signed through 2022) – Spent two seasons on the practice squad but has yet to carve out a role in New England. Signed to a futures contract on Feb. 7.
Matthew Judon (signed through 2024) – The Patriots big-money free agent signee got off to a great start before tailing off badly in the second half. His cap hit rises to $16.5 million in 2022 so Belichick better hop the first half is more indicative of Judon's ability.
Dont'a Hightower (pending unrestrictive free agent) – The veteran enters free agency coming off a quiet season and will be 32 in March. His great career with the Patriots may have come to an end.
Kyle Van Noy (signed through 2022) – Van Noy got off to a slow start, then caught fire in the middle of the season before tailing off again toward the end. His cap hit will be almost $7.5 million so he will likely need to rework his deal to stay.
Ja'Whaun Bentley (pending unrestricted free agent) – Bentley had his moments in 2021 showing the ability to stop the run while providing occasional pressure as a blitzer. He won't likely break the bank in free agency and could return.
Jamie Collins (pending unrestricted free agent) – Collins' third stint with the Patriots was not as productive as the first two. He is unlikely to return as the team needs some youth at the position.
Josh Uche (signed through 2023) – Uche was the talk of town during training camp but never really established himself as a regular contributor. He'll get another chance to do so in Year 3.
Chase Winovich (signed through 2022) – Winovich has occasionally flashed as a pass rusher but can't seem to find a regular role. He could be in line for a change of scenery next season as he doesn't appear to fit into Belichick's plans.
Ronnie Perkins (signed through 2024) – Rookie third-round pick never got a chance to prove his worth as he sent the season on the inactive list. A year in the offseason program should provide some clarity on his outlook for the future.
Harvey Langi (pending unrestricted free agent) – Langi filled roles on special teams before landing on IR to close the season. He could be back as a depth piece depending on his options.
Jahlani Tavai (signed through 2022) – Tavai provided some depth on defense while playing special teams, roles he could fill once again next season.
Anfernee Jennings (signed through 2023) – Jennings has yet to create any momentum in his two years with the Patriots, landing on IR for the entire 2021 campaign. Assuming he's healthy he'll get a chance to find a role with a strong offseason.
Cameron McGrone (signed through 2024) – McGrone was drafted with a torn ACL so Belichick knew it would be a red-shirt season for the fifth-round pick. With some turnover expected at the position, McGrone could be a key factor in 2021.
Raekwon McMillan (signed through 2022) – McMillan appeared to have a roster spot during camp before going down with a torn ACL. The team re-signed him nonetheless and will look for him to fill a role on defense and special teams in 2022.
Terez Hall (exclusive rights free agent) – Hall missed the year while on PUP and therefore did not accrue a season. The Patriots own his rights and he has the potential to fill a role at linebacker.
LaRoy Reynolds (free agent) – Reynolds finished the season on the practice squad but is now a free agent.
J.C Jackson (pending unrestricted free agent) – Jackson had another strong season, earning second-team All-Pro honors. He will command big bucks on the open market and is a candidate for the franchise tag, which would cost around $17.5 million.
Jalen Mills (signed through 2024) – Mills had an up-and-down season after signing as a free agent in the offseason. His versatility to play inside, outside and safety makes him valuable in the secondary.
Jonathan Jones (signed through 2022) – Jones spent half the season on IR and is set to count for more than $7 million against the cap. If healthy he will return but possibly with a reworked deal.
Myles Bryant (signed through 2022) – Bryant struggled down the stretch as his role increased due to injuries. Still, he's shown enough promise to continue developing into a role in the secondary.
Shaun Wade (signed through 2024) – Wade came via trade with Baltimore as the season began and never got much of a chance to show his worth. An offseason and training camp should provide more clarity.
Joejuan Williams (signed through 2022) – It was not a good season for the former second-round pick as he was either inactive or ineffective for the most part. Although he's cheap on the last year of his rookie deal, Williams could use a change of scenery.
Justin Bethel (signed through 2023) – The special teamer provides some depth at corner when needed and with Matthew Slater perhaps nearing retirement his experience will be valuable.
De'Vante Bausby (free agent) – Bausby was elevated to the active roster for the playoffs but is currently not under contract for 2022.
D.J. Daniel (free agent) – Daniel was signed to the practice squad just before the playoffs to provide depth due to the injuries/absences in the secondary. He is now a free agent.
Cre'Von LeBlanc (free agent) – Veteran was signed to the practice squad just before the Bills game and is currently a free agent.
Devin McCourty (pending unrestricted free agent) – McCourty has been the consummate pro in New England and seemed like he planned to continue playing. If it's not in New England, his leadership on the back end will be sorely missed.
Adrian Phillips (signed through 2024) – Phillips signed a three-year extension late in the season and will return as a valuable member of the secondary.
Kyle Dugger (signed through 2023) – Dugger made strides in coverage in his second year but is still searching for overall consistency in his game. He remains a key piece at safety.
Sean Davis (free agent) – Spent much of the season on the practice squad but was elevated to provide depth. He is now free to sign anywhere.
D'Angelo Ross (free agent) – Ross was elevated to the active roster after spending most of the year on the practice squad. He has been with the team off and on for three seasons but is currently not under contract.
Josh Bledsoe (signed through 2024) – Bledsoe came to New England with a wrist injury that had him on NFI all through camp. He eventually was activated late in the season but eventually landed back on IR. He will compete for a roster spot in Year 2.
Matthew Slater (pending unrestricted free agent) – The long-time special teams captain said after the season that he wasn't ready to discuss retirement out of respect to his teammates but the possibility certainly exists.
Brandon King (pending unrestricted free agent) – King has been a valuable special teams contributor but could be a bit pricey at this stage of his career.
Cody Davis (signed through 2023) – Davis provides some depth at safety while performing well on special teams, a role he'll maintain in 2022.
Nick Folk (pending unrestricted free agent) – Folk is coming off a phenomenal season and will likely be on speed dial if the team wishes to keep him. He'll turn 37 in November so it may be time for the Patriots to look for a younger option.
Quinn Nordin (signed through 2022) – Nordin signed a futures deal after spending most of 2021 on the practice squad. He'll get a chance to show the coaches if he can match his powerful leg with the consistency necessary to earn the job.
Joe Cardona (signed through 2022) – Cardona has been a steady long snapper since arriving in 2015 and should remain in place for at least another year.
Jake Bailey (signed through 2022) - Bailey continued to handle a significant portion of the kickoffs this season and battled through an injury. He'll be back in 2022 to continue the punting duties as well.