Six Patriots Thoughts After Opening Day Of NFL Free Agency

Will they keep him at outside cornerback, where he started for the first time in 2022 and, outside of a few tough matchups against Justin Jefferson and Stefon Diggs, played well? Will they bump him back into the slot, his primary position for his first six seasons? Or will they order another position change and move him to free safety, where they now have a gaping hole following Devin McCourty’s departure and no obvious internal replacement?

Jones doesn’t have extensive safety experience but has made several cameos there in the past, most notably playing 17 snaps as a deep safety against the Los Angeles Rams as part of New England’s masterful Super Bowl LIII game plan.

For what it’s worth, McCourty tweeted that he expects the versatile Jones to play multiple roles for New England, and that his exact usage will depend on which other defensive backs the team adds this offseason.

Moving cornerback Jalen Mills is another possibility, especially after he tweeted Monday afternoon that he “really play(s) safety.” And with the exception of Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell, most of the top free agent safeties still were on the board late Monday.

5. As of Monday night, not a single free agent wideout had agreed to terms with a new team. Meyers could set that market as the best player available, with the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Allen Lazard and Odell Beckham Jr. also headlining an underwhelming group.

McCourty mentioned Meyers as a player who could step into a prominent leadership role in New England this season, but the chance of him leaving for a more lucrative contract elsewhere remains very real.

6. A few notable ex-Patriots were in the news.

Jimmy Garoppolo landed in Las Vegas, where he’ll replace Derek Carr and reunite with former New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Another of Tom Brady’s old backups, Jarrett Stidham, got up to $10 million over two years to sign on as Russell Wilson’s understudy in Denver. The salary-shedding Buccaneers reportedly put veteran guard Shaq Mason on the trade block one year after acquiring him from the Patriots. And Chase Winovich became the latest Pats alum to join Nick Caserio’s Texans.

Thumbnail photo via
Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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