2022 Free Agency Part 2: Offense
In this article, we'll focus on free agents that play offense who could be available from the other teams. NFL teams have until 4:00 pm ET on March 16th to re-sign (extend contracts) their own players before they hit the open market. As before, Spotrac (all free agents) will be the source of free agent information since this gets updated soon after transactions (signings, retirements, etc.) are finalized. Unless their cap gets a significant boost via trades and/or cuts, the Pats will most likely follow their usual pattern of waiting until the feeding frenzy of the first couple of weeks subsides and then look for lower cost/higher value signings for depth or maybe even a player willing to sign a lower cost "prove it" contract.
The Patriots are well set for their starting quarterback, but for backups, it's unknown if Hoyer comes back for another year and 2022 is the final year of Stidham's current contract. Thus, the Pats may look for a low cost veteran if needed and there are a couple on the list that might meet that requirement.
Harris and Stevenson are a strong tandem, but it will be interesting to see if White re-signs with the Pats. If not, the Pats may look for a pass catching RB. (Note: Stevenson recently mentioned he will spend the offseason working on his pass catching skills, which may open up other options for the Pats.) Bolden did well (for him) in his role as a RB along with his special teams value but again, if he is not re-signed, the Pats may look for depth if not through free agency, then the draft. But there are a couple of potential lower cost vets on the list that might work. (Maybe a return of Cordarrelle Patterson?) At fullback, Johnson is a FA as well and since the Pats like having a fullback around, he may get re-signed.
Where to begin. Overall, the Pats improved the WR corp last season, but there's still the need to find that true #1 WR. With the current cap situation, signing a premiere #1 WR FA will be difficult, if not impossible, so the Pats may need to use the draft (gulp!). Meyers is a restricted FA who will most likely remain with the Pats. Harry's days are probably numbered if the Pats draft a WR early. Wilkerson showed a flash of promise as well. Overall, it would be surprising if the Pats went after anyone on this list.
Tight end is pretty well set. After a year with the Pats, I expect Henry and Smith to improve in 2022. Even with the choices on the list, I don't see the Pats being active here except possibly looking for depth if they want to have 3 TEs on the roster.
During the first part of the 2021 season, the O-line had trouble keeping Jones on his feet. It improved a bit as the season progressed, but then regressed the last few games. Jones' development will be tied to an above average, if not top 10 O-line. A good LT is always a must. And if Trent Brown leaves, the Pats will need to find a replacement whether through the draft or free agency. I expect some activity by the Pats for the O-line if for no other reason than to find depth at a position where injuries occur regularly.
2022 Free Agency Part 3: Defense