Patriots free agency preview: 5 offensive tackles who could protect a franchise QB

The Patriots should reload.

Fortunately for his or her followers, after a 4-13 end final season and 0 playoff wins in 5 years, the Pats are flush with wage cap area with NFL free company starting subsequent week.

With over $100 million in room, the Patriots have probably the most cap room within the league and want to start out spending money to hit the league’s spending ground. The NFL’s open tampering interval begins Monday at midday ET, when groups are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with the licensed brokers of gamers who will turn into unrestricted free brokers. The new league yr formally begins Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, when groups are in a position to execute a brand new contract with free brokers.

After parting methods with Bill Belichick this offseason, they’ve new management in head coach Jerod Mayo and director of scouting — and de facto common supervisor — Eliot Wolf, who introduced on an virtually fully new workers on offense and a supplemented defensive workers.

The group hit all-time low in 2023 and now has wants throughout a principally barren roster. To preview free company, the Herald is publishing day by day tales about free brokers at key positions of want.

Offensive deal with

It’s been virtually three seasons because the Patriots fielded two succesful beginning offensive tackles.

If Jerod Mayo’s rebuild goes to get off the bottom in 2024, the drought should finish.

The Patriots can’t assist a brand new rookie quarterback or won’t discover any consistency working the ball until the place is addressed. Mac Jones broke beneath a gentle stream of stress off his proper facet the final two years, and now each beginning tackles — Trent Brown and Mike Onwenu — are set to hit free company. Considering the bitter finish of Brown’s tenure, his return appears unlikely.

Onwenu? He’s a thriller. The 26-year-old guard/deal with is representing himself in a market the place his companies must be coveted, even perhaps value $16-18 million per yr. If the Patriots don’t re-sign Onwenu — and he might not need to return — they may look elsewhere.

Here are 5 viable beginning choices in free company, apart from the newly-signed Chukwuma Okorafor:

Tyron Smith (Cowboys)

The 33-year-old was knowledgeable final week that Dallas wouldn’t be retaining him, making Smith probably the most enticing short-term choice available on the market. Smith is a possible Hall of Famer who over the previous 10 years has ranked among the many league’s greatest move protectors anyplace throughout the offensive line. While it’s probably he lands with a contender, the Patriots would do their subsequent quarterback an excellent service by including the eight-time Pro Bowler to their roster.

Jonah Williams (Bengals)

A 2019 first-round decide, Williams flipped from left deal with to proper deal with final season to make room for Bengals free-agent acquisition Orlando Brown Jr. He held up nicely, however performs his greatest on the left facet. At each spots, Williams has confirmed to be an above-average pass-blocker with robust method to masks athletic short-comings.

The Patriots may do so much worse than including a 26-year-old confirmed starter who may play for them into his 30s.

Mekhi Becton (Jets)

The questions on Becton’s sturdiness are about as huge as he’s (6-foot-7, 361 kilos), however the potential stays tantalizing.

At his greatest, Becton is an unstoppable power as a run-blocker and immovable object in move safety. His issues have principally been injury-related, although his consistency has waned, as nicely. Last season, Becton lastly put all of it collectively, displaying as much as coaching camp in the most effective form of his profession and beginning all 16 video games for a nasty Jets group.

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Signing Becton would probably require a strong Plan B, however no deal with presents a greater buy-low alternative on this market than this 24-year-old with uncommon expertise. Expect a one or two-year deal at middling cash for the previous first-round decide.

Jermaine Eluemunor (Raiders)

Remember him?

Eluemunor was a swing deal with for the Patriots in the course of the 2019 and 2020 seasons, then took his abilities to Las Vegas, the place he is since began 34 video games at proper deal with. Eluemunor stays steadiest as a run-blocker, although the Raiders tightened up his move safety. Only the league’s most athletic edge rushers ought to give him constant issues as a league-average starter.

Eluemunor is predicted to command a shorter-term deal that ought to not spook the Patriots within the slightest.