The New England Patriots could be set up for a busy offseason, as the team has key players to re-sign, positions they need to address in free agency and the draft to evaluate.
The Patriots had another successful year by making it to the AFC Championship game, but like every other team that isn't in the Super Bowl, the team has issues to address heading into 2016. Joel Corry, a former sports agent, did a rundown of some of the Patriots needs and concerns for the 2016 offseason at CBS Sports, writing that the team needs to address the offensive line, running back and wide receiver positions, while the defense has some young players that could be in line for extensions.
Tom Brady had another standout year for the Patriots despite the team dealing with a ton of injuries on offense and that could lead to Bill Belichick adding some offensive options in free agency. Players like Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount all missed time with injuries and that could spark the Pats to add some depth at various spots. Blount is hitting free agency and may not return, while Amendola could be a cap casualty in the offseason with his $6.8 million salary cap hit for next season.
Andy Hart at Patriots.com took some fan questions and wrote about some free agent options the team could go after. Hart agreed that players like Rishard Matthews, Matt Forte and Marshawn Lynch could be potential options, especially if the team doesn't bring back Blount. Hart writes that Forte could be a nice fit, as he has experience being an every down back, but at 30 he may be ready to slot into a secondary role and that is something the Patriots need. Dion Lewis did a strong job last season catching balls out of the backfield, but the team will need more depth and Forte could be an inexpensive option on the market compared to players like Lamar Miller or Doug Martin.
The Patriots likely will address the wide receiver position even if the team keeps Danny Amendola, as the injury to Julian Edelman last season showed some lack of depth for the team. Adding someone like Rishard Matthews or Jermaine Kearse could be a solid move, as those players cold slot in as number two or three receivers for Tom Brady. Fobes.com lists Anquan Boldin and Percy Harvin as potential veteran additions at wide receiver, while ESPN Boston writes that Travis Benjamin also could be a target.
The draft also offers a chance for the Patriots to add to the position, as Tony Pauline at DraftInsider.net writes that the Pats, Steelers and Chiefs are all looking at Braxton Miller as a potential target. Miller performed well at the Senior Bowl and he is emerging as a prospect that could get drafted in the middle round. The Patriots have an aging corps of wideouts and adding a young player like Miller could be a move the team considers.