BOSTON (CBS) — NFL Free Agency is nearly upon us, with the legal tampering window opening at noon on Monday. Players cannot officially sign until the new league year opens on Wednesday at 4 p.m., but contracts can be negotiated between the player’s agent and team.
And with a handful of players set to hit the open market, the Patriots may lose several key contributors over the next few days. The Patriots started their offseason moves on Friday with a surprise trade with the Eagles for defensive end Michael Bennett, which has many wondering if free agent Trey Flowers is heading elsewhere.
ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss joined Dan Roche on Sunday night’s Sports Final on WBZ-TV to break down which Patriots we can expect to be back in 2019, and which players will be wearing different uniforms next season (Adrian Clayborn is not a free agent, but a potential cap casualty).
“It’s all going to depend on what market is out there for him. I don’t think Miami will be in it, but whether it’s Detroit or Tennessee or another team with ties to the Patriots, maybe that ups the price. It reminds me a lot of [Devin] McCourty and [Dont’a] Hightower when they went out to market.
“I think he could be back. I don’t think the door is closed. A lot of people think the door is closed after Bennett, but I don’t think so. Not yet.”
“I think he’ll have a tough time coming back for year two. With a high cap number, it’ll tough to be back back for year two.”
“That’ll be one that the market dictates. My gut tells me probably not back, but door not closed.
“I’d think more not back. He was inactive for AFC title game against the Chiefs and that stays in my mind. Maybe better for both sides for a fresh start.”
“I can tell you they are talking to him about a contract extension, it’s a matter of if Simon likes the numbers.”
“Why not bring him back? What a great story this last year, great for the locker room. No reason not to in my mind.”
“No doubt in my mind that he is back, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the second-round restricted free agent tender.”
I don’t think he’s back. He’s banged up and they’ve moved on with McCourty, Jon Jones, and Duke Dawson — a second-round pick from last year will be back in the mix. I don’t know if there’s a spot for Eric Rowe on the Patriots.
“Big Trent is going to probably get big money. That tells me he probably isn’t going to be back. With all the teams that need offensive linemen, he’s going to get a big contract that the Patriots feel is beyond their reach.”
Reiss notes that Isaiah Wynn would likely take over for Brown if he departs, with free agent LaAdrian Waddle a good depth player.
“That’s out of the Patriots’ hands. You’re not going to rely on him because it’s an NFL suspension, and even if he is cleared to come back, what is your level of confidence that it’ll stay the course? If you bring him back it’s more of a fall-back.”
“That’s a tough one. It was a good year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if both sides went in a different direction. But that’s just a gut feeling on that one.”
“I would be surprised if he’s back. They had talked about coming back last year at a high salary figure and I’d be surprised at this point, after three years, if they come together.”
“I think he wants to be a starter and that won’t be the case in New England. If he can’t be a starter somewhere else, I think he’ll be back.”
“I think will be back. But when they signed him to an extension four years ago, they made him the highest-paid kicker. He’s still the highest-paid, so I think it would have to be at a lower number.”
Tune in to Sports Final and Sports Final OT every Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. on WBZ-TV!