The New England Patriots free agency is well and truly underway after a number of high profile deals were made this week.
The Patriots had some tough decisions to make with a number of key players heading into free agency this week – most notably of course is quarterback Tom Brady.
But New England also faced the prospect of losing defensive stars Devin McCourty and Kyle Van Noy as well as a number of other key players including Jamie Collins and Matthew Slater.
As it stands, those four Patriots free agents know where they will be playing next season.
In perhaps an unsurprising move but by far the most significant as yet, Kyle Van Noy will be heading to the Miami Dolphins and reuniting with former Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores.
The two-time Super Bowl-winning linebacker has agreed to a four-year, $51 million deal with the Dolphins which, of course, the Patriots were never going to be able to match.
That is perhaps the only kernel of solace for Patriots fans – it was very much a given that Van Noy would be heading out the door this year after his performance meant he demanded a price tag the Patriots could ill-afford.
In more damage to their defensive line, Jamie Collins looks set to leave as well.
The veteran linebacker will also be reuniting with a former Pats defensive coordinator as he is reportedly close to a deal with the Detroit Lions.
NFL Insider Ian Rapoport tweeted: ” For the Lions and LB Jamie Collins, it’s a 3-year worth $30 million, source said.
“The deal includes $18 million fully guaranteed. A nice payday and a reunion with coach Matt Patricia.”
Patriots free agency is not all bad news so far
In some good news for Pats fans, Devin McCourty will be returning to Foxborough and will likely finish his career in a Patriots uniform.
According to the NFL Network, the veteran free safety agreed to a two-year deal worth $23 million with $17 million in guaranteed money.
McCourty is also coming off one of his strongest seasons.
Last year, the 32-year-old finished fourth in the NFL with five interceptions and seven passes defended, two forced fumbles and 58 tackles.
Special teams ace Matthew Slater will also be back in New England after penning a two-year extension with the Patriots earlier this week.
According to the NFL Network, the deal is worth $5.3 million with $2.375 million guaranteed and, after Slater’s performance last season, is very good news for the team.
The 34-year-old Slater is coming off another All-Pro campaign, which was his fifth in 12 years with the Patriots.
He is currently the team’s third-longest tenured player, behind quarterback Tom Brady (20 seasons) and kicker Stephen Gostkowski (14 seasons).
This past season, Slater recorded 10 tackles and recovered a fumble en route to making his eighth Pro Bowl team, making him the player with the most special teams nods in history.
The Patriots free agency has also surprisingly seen them slap a franchise tag on Joe Thuney, giving them that all important time to reach a new deal.
In a statement, the Patriots said: “Joe has been a model teammate and an essential element to our success since joining our team in 2016.
“Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach the goal of a long-term agreement.”
The team can now either reach a long-term extension, trade him or keep him on the books for the franchise year before hopefully reaching a new deal next year.
The Patriots still have the biggest decision ahead of them with Tom Brady’s free agency looming for the first time in his career.
But it seems they are leaving that one until last.
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