I intended to wait until the offseason had hit before punching this up, but circumstances this week have made the Patriots’ season look dire. I mean, the horrors of going 11-5?! After back to back losses though, some cracks have started to show. I still believe that the Patriots can get some stuff done, but either way, the end of the season is in sight.
In that vein, lets review the roster, more specifically, who will be around for the 2019 season. Some guys will leave in free agency, some will be cap casualties, and some are all but guaranteed to be around next fall. Keep in mind that the rosters expand to 90 players during the off season, so some guys may be marked as being back for camp, but of whom I may not expect to see on the field come September.
Tom Brady: He’ll be back for his 20th season in Foxboro
Brian Hoyer: I expect he’ll be back in camp. His spot on the 53 man depends on other moves
Danny Etling: (PS) A member of the practice squad, the 2018 7th rounder will likely be back in camp, but would be a long shot to make the final roster
James White: The outstanding 3rd down back will be back
Sony Michel: The 2018 1st rounder will be back, and be a featured part of the offense
Rex Burkhead: The swiss army knife RB and special teamer will be back
James Develin: Protypical fullback, he’ll be back in 2019
Jeremy Hill: Coming off an injury, and a free agent, Hill will not be back
Julian Edelman: The receiver corps need SOME sort of continuity. Edelman will be back
Chris Hogan: A free agent, unless he wants to come back on an Amendola type sweetheart deal, he’s gone.
Cordarrelle Patterson: Patterson is a free agent, but I suspect will be back. He’s never been used this well before, and Belichick values special team contributions more than most.
Phillip Dorsett: A free agent, Dorsett will find a spot with more targets.
Josh Gordon: Gordon would be a restricted free agent were he not suspended indefinitely. Regardless, Gordon will not be on the field for anyone in 2019.
Braxton Berrios: The 2018 6th round pick spent the year on IR. He’ll be back in 2019, and I expect will be on the 53 man
Riley McCarron: I expect the receiving corps to be revamped this off season like it was after 2006 when Moss, Welker, and Stallworth arrived. McCarron will not be back
Darren Andrews: Andrews will not be back
Cody Hollister: The less heralded of the Hollister twins, He won’t be around in 2019
Damoun Patterson: Damoun, we hardly knew ye.
Marcus Cannon: One of the toughest calls. I think he makes it one more year on his contract. They’ll let Wynn spend a year as a 3rd tackle, swing tackle guy before letting Cannon go.
Shaq Mason: The guard signed an extension last off season that is very favorable. He’s a sure bet to return
David Andrews: The former undrafted rookie free agent center has developed well. The interior 3-some of the O-line is solid, and all will be back next year
Joe Thuney: The remaining return on the trade that sent Chandler Jones to the desert, Thuney will be back.
Trent Brown: The behemoth of a man is a free agent. This is a tough one. We all saw what Nate Solder got on the open market. This year sees more teams looking for a left tackle, and more teams with big free agency dollars to spend. My gut says Brown stays though.
LaAdrian Waddle: After returning on a one year deal, I expect Waddle to seek out a spot he could start. Waddle will not be back in 2019
Ted Karras: Under contract, and the primary interior line back up, Karras will be back in 2019
James Ferentz: Under contract, at the very least Ferentz will be back for training camp, but I’d expect him to be a 53 man guy, but probably not a game day dress.
Isaiah Wynn: The 2018 first rounder will be back. Ideally he’d spend a year as a swing tackle before taking on a full time role. If Brown re-signs I think that is what happens before he bumps Cannon in 2020. Either way, he’s back in 2019
Brian Schwenke: The free agent will not be back.
Ulrick John: The free agent will not be back
Cole Croston: (PS) the practice squad tackle has been in the developmental pipeline since seemingly the Dick McPherson era. He likely is back on the 90 man, but will not survive another training camp.
Toby Weathersby: (PS): The free agent will not be back
Toby Adams: The recent signee will be with the Patriots for just a few weeks, and will not be back
Rob Gronkowski: I do not expect to see Gronkowski back in 2019. My expectation is that he’ll retire and head off to start pregaming in Canton.
Dwayne Allen: Allen’s value to the team is immense, even if fantasy football players disagree. But his contract is huge for the role he plays. I expect Allen back. I do not expect him back with a $7.4 million cap figure.
Jacob Hollister: The former undrafted rookie free agent has been in development for 2 years now. He’ll be back in camp come August, but it’ll be a fish or cut bait off season. Either he makes a leap, or he’s gone come cut time.
Ryan Izzo: The 2018 7th rounder spent the year on IR, and his profile is that he’d fill more of an Allen role than a Gronk role. I expect he’d have a leg up on Hollister. He’ll be back in 2019
Stephen Anderson: (PS) The practice squader will not be back in 2019
Adrian Clayborn: The end carries a decent sized cap figure, but I expect him to be around in 2019
Lawrence Guy: One of the more underrated players on this team, Guy will be back in 2019
Malcom Brown: The former first rounder is a big question mark here, especially considering the woes stopping the run the defense has had recently. I think the space eater finds himself on the outside looking in as they find a big space eating vet to pair with a draftee to re-invigorate the position.
Trey Flowers: Flowers is a free agent who will be sought after. I don’t think it ever gets that far though, I suspect the franchise tag is placed on him while a long term deal is worked out.
Danny Shelton: A month ago I likely would have told you he was the guy to be re-signed while Brown walked. But since he’s been a healthy scratch the last few weeks, I’m putting my money on Shelton being a 1 year and done in New England. He won’t be back in 2019
Deatrich Wise Jr.: The defensive end will absolutely be back in 2019. Quietly he has been one of the Patriots best defenders the last 2 years
Adam Butler: The former undrafted free agent, Butler will be back in 2019. More of a penetrator than Brown or Shelton, he’s not in line to replace the impending free agents, but has found his own niche’
Keionta Davis: Davis makes it back to training campin 2019. Whether he finds a role will depend on how the position is addressed in the offseason. This is a deep draft for defensive lineman.
Trent Harris: (PS) The practice squader will not be back
Frank Herron: (PS) The practice squader will not be back
Ufomba Kemalu: The late season addition will not be back
Dont’a Hightower: The leader feels a lot older than 28 doesn’t he. He’s a tough one. I think he’ll be back, but on an adjusted deal.
Kyle Van Noy: The current poster boy for Patriot reclamation projects, Van Noy will be a sure bet to return in 2019
John Simon: a free agent who was a below the radar in season signing. I think he, McClellan and Humber will be fighting for one roster spot in 2019. Simon won’t win that fight. He won’t be back in 2019
Derek Rivers: The former 2017 3rd round pick. He missed all of 2017 with an injury, and hardly been heard from in 2018. It was expected that he’d assert himself as part of the pass rush rotation. I don’t think he makes it to training camp in 2019.
Elandon Roberts: Seemingly on the bubble since he was drafted, Roberts will be back in 2019
Albert McClellan: A mid-season signee, the special team stalwart has been special on special teams. If this was an audition for 2019, he’s broken a leg and made the cast. He’ll be back.
Ramon Humber: Back for a second tour of duty he also has made a mark on special teams. I don’t think he’ll be back in 2019 though
Ja’Whaun Bentley: The rookie was one of the bright spots of the pre-season and early season before succumbing to injuries. He’ll for sure be back in 2019.
Christian Sam: The former sun devil was drafted with the expectation of potentially being a coverage line backer. After spending the season on IR, he’ll be around in 2019
Calvin Munson: (PS) The practice squader will not be back in 2019
Devin McCourty: The captain and leader of the defense has a big cap number. He’ll be back on an adjusted contract, but the end is in sight.
Stephon Gilmore: 100% Gilmore is back in 2019. A stud cornerback, and solid locker room guy
Patrick Chung: Chung is re-signed, but I suspect could be a “surprise” salary cap casualty. Chung will not be back in 2019
Duron Harmon: The trusty 3rd wheel of the Patriots 3 headed safety monster the last few years. Harmon will be back in 2019 as a veteran presence.
Jason McCourty: The free agent was acquired at a bargain basement price and then adjusted his contract to be even more of a bargain. I think he returns as veteran insurance with an awful lot of young pups around filling out the cornerback room after Gilmore and McCourty.
Duke Dawson: The 2018 2nd rounder hasn’t been heard from this year after opening the year on IR. He’ll be back in 2019
Jonathan Jones: The former undrafted rookie is a free agent. With a bunch of 2018 rookies on the roster, I think Jones’ will be in a position to cash in elsewhere. He won’t be back in 2019
Keion Crossen: The 2018 7th rounder (how many times has that been typed today) has raw tools enough to continue his development. He’ll be back in 2019.
J.C. Jackson: The big corner has solidified himself a spot in 2019.
Obi Melifonwu: The former Raiders’ 2nd rounder and native New Englander will be back in 2019. I think he moves into the Chung role
Eric Rowe: The infamous Super Bowl 52 starter over Malcolm Butler, Rowe was moved to IR earlier in the year, and will not return in 2019
Jomal Wiltz: (PS) The practice squader will not be back in 2019
Stephen Gostkowski: The free agent will work out a deal to remain in New England.
Nate Ebner: Re-signed last off season for a pretty decent number, Ebner will be back in 2019
Matt Slater: The special teams maven would be 34 when the season starts. He has a $3 million cap figure. I think Slater will retire following this season and thus will not be back in 2019
Ryan Allen: The punter is a free agent after the season. A decent, though not spectacular punter during his tenure in New England, I think he’ll price himself out of the market, and will not be back in 2019
Brandon King: The coverage specialist will be back in 2019
Joe Cardona: The long snapper will be back in 2019
So of the currently 76 players in the pipeline in one form or another (active roster, IR, Practice Squad), I expect 45 to at least be on the roster come August. That doesn’t even count Hunter Renfrow, currently playing for Clemson, but whom is assumed to be on the auxiliary roster for New England.
We’ll look more at who could be off season additions, but going into the off season the questions remain centered around the receivers for the Patriots, at both wide receiver and tight end. The offensive line is fortified, as is the offensive backfield.
On defense, an infusion of youth is needed in every group, aside from the cornerback position. Re-signing Flowers is key, as he and Gilmore are co-MVPs of the defense and the foundation pieces moving forward.
This draft will likely be defense orientated, with the offensive replacements coming via free agency. Regardless though, changes are coming. They always are.
- Written by Jason Sullivan
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