The Pats are in a tough spot this offseason. If they sign Tom Brady, they probably won’t be able to bring back other beloved veterans. Or if Bill decides his defense and special teams are the most important thing to address, then the cap space won’t be there for Tom.
Devin McCourty – McCourty has been a huge core piece of the defense for the last decade now. Not only that, he is a gigantic leader on this team. D-Mac is another player that would just look wrong in another uniform. Going into this season at 33 years old, the market for him in free agency will be a lot smaller. He should come back at a much lower price than he was previously at, and the Pats would be crazy to not put in a serious effort to bring him back. Consensus: Coming back
Kyle Van Noy – Van Noy has been greatly improved since joining the Patriots. His recent performance is going to get him PAID. If he was smart, he would stay with the team that he knows he is going to thrive with, and puts him in situations to succeed. However, once he sees dollar signs, I doubt he’s going to want to stick around with the cheap offer bill is going to give him. Consensus: Leaving
Joe Thuney – Thuney is another guy that is going to find himself a big paycheck next season. This is a player who’s future with the Patriots might hinge on Tom Brady’s. The team might not have the money available to pay Thuney if Brady comes back at what he’s actually worth. If they don’t get Brady back, bringing Thuney back will be essential to bolster their run blocking and protect whoever their new QB is. I’m still one of those believers that Brady is going to give in and come back, so to make a choice, Consensus: Leaving
Matthew Slater – Slater just wouldn’t fit in on any other team. It would just be wrong to see Mr. Special Teams himself anywhere else. Maybe his old coach Joe Judge would bring him in, but I’d find it hard to believe Bill wouldn’t bring him back for a couple million for the last few years of his career. Consensus: Coming Back
Phillip Dorsett – Dorsett was one of the few bright spots on the offense last season when he was healthy. He was a great route runner, and he gets the system, unlike a lot of free agent receivers. He doesn’t seem like a guy that would generate a lot of free agent interest. Plus, the Pats could probably bring him back on a team friendly deal. They need everything they can get in terms of weapons, and Dorsett seems necessary to do that. Consensus: Coming Back
Nate Ebner – Another special teams aficionado, Ebner will be another guy that they bring back to keep that special teams strong. He probably would not generate a whole lot of interest from other teams, and is a big time locker room guy for the Pats. Ebner will be back to be a gunner once more. Consensus: Coming back
Jamie Collins – Collins came on very strong to start last season and disappeared. He seems kind of dependent on how Belichick feels about him and his attitude, with the history they’ve had. He is going to be over 30 next season. But if Van Noy is not coming back, they are going to need a veteran and versatile linebacker on the defense. Collins should be back on a moderately team friendly deal. Consensus: Coming Back
Danny Shelton – Shelton has been a very under the radar player since the Pats brought him over from Cleveland. He has not lived up to his first round talent, but run defense was a huge struggle last season. Shelton has been one of the few bright spots as a plug in the middle and should come back at a cheap price. Consensus: Coming back
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-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)