Chris Long Announces He Will Enter Free Agency, Move on from Patriots

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2017

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04:  Chris Long #95 of the New England Patriots reacts after sacking Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams (not pictured) during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

After winning a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, Chris Long will explore his options in free agency.

The veteran defensive end announced his decision on Instagram:

Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower spoke highly of Long on Twitter:

Long enjoyed a relatively resurgent 2016 season. Beyond the Patriots' team success, his four sacks matched his combined output from 2014 and 2015.

The 31-year-old bet on himself by accepting a one-year deal with New England worth a little under $2.4 million, and he more than earned a pay raise in 2017 with his on-field performance.

Considering his age, this may be Long's last chance to earn a lucrative multiyear contract, too, so it makes sense he'd want to test his value on the open market. 

The Patriots have over $61.4 million in available salary cap space, per Spotrac, but they'll have to reserve some of that for a combination of Hightower, Alan Branch, LeGarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett and Malcolm Butler, all of whom are free agents.

Long is hitting the market at a good time. The three best free-agent pass-rushers, Melvin Ingram, Chandler Jones and Jason Pierre-Paul, all received the franchise tag, per NFL.com. That will help Long's leverage in any contract negotiations.

Teams looking for an experienced, cost-effective defensive end could do much worse than looking at Long this offseason.

Related

    Josh Allen Silences the Haters 🤐

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Josh Allen Silences the Haters 🤐

    Gary Davenport
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: AJ McCarron's Injury Diagnosed as Fracture

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Report: AJ McCarron's Injury Diagnosed as Fracture

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    The Fantasy Sleepers You Should Draft

    NFL logo
    NFL

    The Fantasy Sleepers You Should Draft

    Matt Camp
    via Bleacher Report

    Josh Allen Has Impressive Outing vs. Browns

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Josh Allen Has Impressive Outing vs. Browns

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report