Free Agents Patriots Should Pursue After 2022 NFL Draft

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 11, 2022

Free Agents Patriots Should Pursue After 2022 NFL Draft

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    Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

    The New England Patriots did a nice job of filling their roster holes throughout the offseason.

    The Patriots used a slow build through free agency, trades and the 2022 NFL draft to land players at wide receiver, offensive line and in the secondary.

    New England’s roster should be close to set ahead of training camp, but it could still make some improvements to prepare for the gauntlet that is expected in the AFC East.

    The recent release of James Bradberry could have the attention of Bill Belichick and his staff. Bradberry is still a solid cornerback in the NFL and he may be a great fit around the current players at the position.

    New England could take a long shot swing at one of the wide receivers left on the free agent market.

    The DeVante Parker trade shored up a top four of himself, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor.

    An argument can be made that the Patriots still do not have a clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver and that is something they may find on the open market.

    New England should continue to look for offensive line improvements in case first-round pick Cole Strange struggles at points of the season.

    The Patriots can’t afford to have Mac Jones on the ground much and they may look for a veteran player to help out.

James Bradberry

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    James Bradberry should have the most interest of any current free agent because he is the most-recent big name to hit the market.

    Bradberry was released by the New York Giants and he could end up with a new team in a short while.

    New England added Marcus Jones and Jack Jones to the secondary with its third and fourth round selections.

    The pair of rookies are expected to compete for time behind Jalen Mills and Malcolm Butler.

    Bradberry could be looked at as a No. 2 or No. 3 cornerback in the Patriots defense and he would serve as a bridge between the two projected starters and the rookies.

    The concern surrounding Bradberry is that he gave up over 60 percent of completions on balls thrown at him during his two seasons with the Giants.

    In comparison, Jalen Mills has three straight seasons with a completion rate under 60 percent on his side of the field.

    Bradberry’s exposure to No. 1 wide receivers would not be as large in New England. He could be useful as a second or third defender against the loaded wide receiver groups in the AFC East.

Odell Beckham Jr.

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    There is a very small chance the Patriots would go after Odell Beckham Jr.

    The Patriots could be content with their foursome of DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor going into the 2022 season.

    Mac Jones has four solid targets to work with plus he has the tight end pairing of Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry at his disposal.

    New England’s current depth would rule out Beckham in most seasons, but the team needs every advantage it can get in the AFC East.

    Buffalo is trotting out Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis to the field each week, while Tyreek Hill teamed up with Jaylen Waddle in Miami.

    Whichever two players form New England’s best wide receiver duo ranks beneath the Bills and Dolphins stars in the AFC East.

    Beckham could be brought in on a minimum contract in a potential prove-it year after his ACL tear in the Super Bowl.

    Beckham would not be available to start the season, but he could provide a jolt into the squad for the second half of the campaign.

    This is more of a pipe dream than anything right now, but all avenues need to be exhausted in a division with tight margins

Ereck Flowers

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    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    Ereck Flowers could provide the Patriots with a bridge to its younger offensive linemen in 2022.

    The 28-year-old offensive guard started 16 games with the Washington Football Team last season.

    Flowers played at least 14 games in six of his seven NFL seasons with the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Washington.

    The durability and experience of the 28-year-old could be vital to the Patriots as they look to mold Cole Strange into a starter.

    Even if Strange starts, the Patriots could use Flowers to start over Michael Onwenu on the other side of center David Andrews.

    New England might be content with its current offensive line group, but it would not hurt to have extra depth on the interior.