BOSTON (CBS) — Matthew Slater wants to keep his football career going, and he would really like to do so with the New England Patriots. But the free agent knows that may not be up to him, so he’s ready for anything this offseason.
After the Patriots season ended with a disappointing wild card loss to the Titans, Slater said he would take some time to contemplate his future. In Florida for the Pro Bowl, Slater told ESPN’s Michael DiRocco that he wants to keep playing. He would really like for his career to start and finish in a Patriots uniform, but he knows that New England has a lot of decisions to make this offseason.
“It’s hard for me to visualize myself playing anywhere else,” Slater said Wednesday. “But that’s not always my decision so I think that’s out of my control. I’ve expressed publicly and privately to remain a Patriot for the entirety of my career and certainly I still feel that way so we’ll see how it goes.”
It’s difficult to picture Bill Belichick not wanting to bring Slater back in 2020. The 34-year-old has been anchoring the New England special teams unit since the team drafted him in the fifth round in 2008, serving as a team captain every season since 2011. He’s earned eight Pro Bowl selections and five All-Pro First-Team honors along the way, not to mention those three Super Bowl rings he can put on whenever he feels like.
The Patriots will be busy this offseason. Tom Brady is at the top of their free agent list. Safety and team captain Devin McCourty has also expressed his desire to keep playing, and will need a new deal if the Patriots want him to continue quarterbacking their defense. Add Slater to the mix, and the Patriots have three important free agents in all three phases of the game.
Based on his comments Wednesday, it sounds like Slater would be willing to take a team-friendly deal to finish his career where it started. We’ll find out for sure when free agency kicks off March 18.