UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: RB James White, C David Andrews, LG Joe Thuney, RB Rex Burkhead, QB Brian Hoyer, WR Damiere Byrd, K Nick Folk, DL Lawrence Guy, CB Jason McCourty, DT Adam Butler, CB Justin Bethel, FS Terrence Brooks, LB Shilique Calhoun, LB Brandon Copeland, LB John Simon, DT Carl Davis, FS Cody Davis, OL Jermaine Eluemunor, FB James Ferentz, WR Donte Moncrief,
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: CB J.C. Jackson
NEEDS: The Patriots are giving quarterback Cam Newton another chance, re-signing him to a one-year deal following a disappointing 2020 as Tom Brady’s successor. New England certainly could try still look for Brady’s long-term replacement through the draft. Either way, the lack of productive targets in the passing game was part of Newton’s struggles last season, so whoever starts in 2021 will need a better group of receivers. The same is true at tight end. Defensively the Patriots will be better with LB Dont’a Hightower and FS Patrick Chung returning after opting out last season because of coronavirus concerns. But Hightower also needs some younger linebacking talent around him. The Patriots’ defense gave up 1,765 yards rushing last season, seventh most in the NFL. A lot of that falls on the defensive line, which needs an upgrade as well.