For this exercise, I have assumed that the Patriots will be able to retain any RFA's they want to keep. QB (2): Tom Brady, Kevin O'Connell, (Matt Cassell) RB (3): Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris TE (2): Ben Watson, Dave Thomas WR (3): Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Sam Aiken/Kelly Washington OT (3): Matt Light, Nick Kaczur, Mark Levoir OG (2): Logan Mankins, Stephen Neal C (1): Dan Koppen NT(1): Vince Wilfork DE(4): Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Jarvis Green, LeKevin Smith OLB(4): Mike Vrabel, Adalius Thomas, Pierre Woods, Shawn Crable ILB(3): Tedy Bruschi, Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton CB (3) : Ellis Hobbs, Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite S(1): Brandon Meriweather ST(2): Stephen Gostkowski, Matt Slater So, in my opinion, the Patriots have 34 of 53 roster spots locked up for next year barring injury. I included one of either Washington or Aiken because I think both will be back, but I wouldn't be shocked if the Pats decided to go with another pure WR instead of having 2 special teams guys at the position. Now, add in a punter, a long snapper, and a 3rd QB. That gets me to 37 of 53 roster spots filled. Paxton, Malone or Hanson, and Guttierrez figure in here. '08 Patriots not considered locks that have a very good shot at being on the team again in '09: Aiken/Washington, Ray Ventrone, Billy Yates, Tyson DeVree, BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Just to be conservative, I will say just 2 of those 5 will be back, which brings me to 39. So I see a maximum of 14 roster spots open for new Pats in '09. That said, it could be far less when guys like Heath Evans are re-signed and a couple of fringe Olineman (Yates, Connolly, Hochstein, and O'Callaghan) are back. It is clear that there is room for veterans in the secondary, some youth with more upside at both guard and tackle, at least one veteran WR be it Gaffney or someone else, someone at TE to push Watson/Thomas, the big head smashing SILB unless Ruud has been secretly groomed for that role, and some insurance along the defensive line. If Hobbs is our de-facto no.1 corner again in '09 then there's a need for a kick returner as Ellis was getting injured far too often the past two seasons to continue both jobs.