It still hasn’t been two weeks since free agency opened, and the Patriots already look like a drastically different football team.
It’s not just Tom Brady’s exodus — though it is the most significant.
Bill Belichick’s team has seen significant turnover on both sides of the ball. With under $1 million in cap space at the moment, they’ll either need to trade somebody like Joe Thuney, or restructure Dont’a Hightower’s deal to create any more wiggle room.
So what does the roster look like at the moment? Here’s a free agency reset:
Added: Brian Hoyer
Departed: Tom Brady
Under contract: Jarrett Stidham, Cody Kessler
Apparently Hoyer wasn’t brought back to given Stidham a veteran presence to lean on. His agent, Joe Linta, informed NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport there will be a quarterback competition in Foxborough.
“If someone offered him $5 million or $6 million to be backup, Brian still would’ve wanted to be back in New England,” Linta told Rapoport. “They gave him a chance to compete for the starting job and that’s all he asked for.”
For what it’s worth, Stidham beat Hoyer out for Brady’s backup job last August.
Added: Danny Vitale
Under contract: James White, Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden, James Develin, Jakob Johnson
With everybody under contract, this stable remains the same. Vitale adds fullback insurance in the event James Develin’s neck keeps him sidelined.
Retired: Ben Watson
Under contract: Ryan Izzo, Matt LaCosse
With a weak tight end draft class, it’s a surprise the Patriots haven’t yet made a move to fortify the position that was an Achilles heel in 2019. If they do decide to deal Thuney, perhaps a tight end will be Foxborough bound.
Added: Damiere Byrd
Departed: Phillip Dorsett
Under contract: Julian Edelman, Authentic N’Keal Harry Jersey, Mohamed Sanu, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski
Byrd had a fine season for the Cardinals last fall, catching 32 passes for 359 yards. He’s returned punts and kickoffs, so he could fill that void. Seeing Dorsett depart wasn’t terribly surprising, as he fell down the depth chart for the second season in a row.
Departed: Ted Karras
Franchise tagged: Joe Thuney
Under contract: Isaiah Wynn, Marcus Cannon, Shaq Mason, David Andrews, Korey Cunningham, James Ferentz, Hijalte Froholdt, Yodny Cajuste.
Still in free agent limbo: Marshall Newhouse, Jermaine Eluemunor (restricted)
On the books for $14.78 million this season, it’ll be a surprise if Thuney is still wearing that cap hit when Week 1 rolls around. The team has said they want to work on an extension, and if one can’t be reached, the remarkably durable guard will be an attractive piece of trade bait.
Added: Brandon Copeland
Departed: Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts
Re-signed: Shilique Calhoun
Under contract: Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Brandon King
With the mini-exodus of Patriots linebackers, there is going to be plenty of competition at the position whenever training camp rolls around.
It wasn’t surprising to see Collins and Van Noy cash in with huge deals, as it pays to play on the best statistical defense in the NFL
Under contract: Authentic Stephon Gilmore Jersey, Authentic D’Angelo Ross Jersey , Authentic J.C. Jackson Jersey, Authentic Jason McCourty Jersey, Authentic Jonathan Jones Jersey, Authentic Joejuan Williams Jersey, Authentic Justin Bethel Jersey.
The deepest position on the Patriots roster should stay that way in 2020.
Belichick picked up Jason McCourty’s option — perhaps further enticing his brother to return, too — so this group looks exactly the same.
Added: Adrian Phillips, Cody Davis
Departed: Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner
Re-signed: Devin McCourty
Under contract: Patrick Chung, Terrence Brooks, Malik Grant
The significant turnover in the Patriots’ secondary comes at the safety position.
The Duron Harmon trade came as a surprise, as did Nate Ebner’s defection to the Giants. The special teams standout actually made more money in each of his last two Patriots seasons than he will in New York.
Phillips, who got a two-year deal slots in as Ebner’s replacement, while Davis is likely to compete on special teams, too.
Added: Beau Allen
Departed: Danny Shelton
Under contract: Lawrence Guy, Deatrich Wise Jr., Byron Cowart, John Simon, Chase Winovich, Derek Rivers
Still sitting in free agent limbo: Keionta Davis, Adam Butler (restricted)
This one is pretty straightforward: Shelton out, Allen in.
The Patriots needed to replace their run-stuffing tackle, and Allen can earn up to $8 million on a two-year deal. If Allen’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he was on the Eagles team that upset the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Also could be because Beau Allen is just a simple sounding name.
Departed: Stephen Gostkowski
Re-signed: Matthew Slater
Unwilling to gamble on a 36-year-old kicker coming off hip surgery, the Patriots cut Gostkowski and saved almost $3.6 million against the cap. They could look to the draft to replenish the position that had seen remarkable continuity through Bill Belichick’s first 20 years in New England.
Keeping Slater in the fold ensures the locker room retains a respected, veteran voice amidst so much roster turnover.