First things to keep in mind when shaping this roster is a players age and whether or not they are a free agent next year. Currently, the Patriots have 24 players heading into Unrestricted Free Agency next year. They also have 2 players entering Restricted Free Agency and another 7 under Exclusive Rights Free Agency. That is an extraordinary amount. Usually a player will play well going into his Free Agent year. But the thought of losing half your roster is outrageous.
Injuries in pre-season and post 6/1 cuts (salary cap savings) will play a big factor in determining the roster.
QUARTERBACK (2) Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer
Its Stidham’s job! One of the UDFA QB’s to PS
RUNNING BACK (5) James White, Sony Michel, Brandon Bolden, Damien Harris, JJ Taylor
This was a tough call. Brandon Bolden has been one of my favorites ever since I met him as a rookie in the Pro Shop. It was pre-season and I told him to keep doing those great things on Special Teams, that’s how he would make the team. He has done that for going on his 9th season. However, he is 30 and a UFA next year. I know BB loves his role as a core special teams player. Bolden has improved his running ability the last two seasons (MIA and NE), so he is not a ST only player. Burkhead does not play ST, is injury prone and has a big salary. Cutting Burkhead and giving those carries to Harris makes sense. The savings from Burkhead pays for the entire draft class. White and Burkhead are both UFA’s next year too! Taylor is kept because they might lose 3 RBs next year, and he can contribute on ST (Kick Returns).
FULLBACK (2) Dan Vitale, Dalton Keene,
I was not impressed with Jakob Johnson’s running ability and his blocking was average. Keene is a swiss army knife that will play all over, FB, H-Back and TE. You can even split him out wide and if you don’t pay attention he will burn you. Both Vitale and Keene can catch well and run after the catch.
WIDE RECEIVER (6) Julian Edelman, Jakobi Myers, Muhammed Sanu, N’Keal Harry, Damiere Byrd, Will Hastings,
Byrd and Sanu are UFA’s next year. I kept Hastings because of the bonus they gave him and the fact that Stidham is familiar with him from their days at Auburn together. Sanu played hurt last year and he was ineffective. I expect big things from him this year. Byrd can flat out fly and the team needs speed.
TIGHT END (2), Devin Asiasi, Jake Burt,
Both are better blockers than what they had last year. Burt received $70K guaranteed so I expect him to stay. Keene is receiving option too.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, Isaiah Wynn, David Andrews, Jodny Cajuste, Michael Owenu, Dustin Woodard
Game Day rosters will expand to 48 from 46. One of those players has to be an Olineman. Two players can be called up from the practice squad and immediately sent back after the game. I see both Herron and Froholt on the PS. Woodard makes the 53 because he is the backup OC. Andrews and Thuney (Franchise Tag) are UFA next year. Cannon has a big contract and is pushing 32 so he could be a cap casualty on 6/1. Right now they have no known replacement for Cannon. Cajuste could step up but that leaves them without a reliable swing tackle. O line is a fluid situation.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE (4) Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Byron Cowart, Beau Allen,
Pretty cut and dry here. Allen replaces Shelton. Of concern here is that he DL got gashed as the team played better competition down the stretch. I don’t see much improvement. Bill Murray might surprise in camp, but a role on the expanded (12 from 10) Practice Squad is more likely.
DEFENSIVE END (4) John Simon, Chase Winowich, Josh Uche, Afernee Jennings,
Another area that is pretty cut and dry. These are your edge guys. Winowich and Uche as designated pass rushers. Simon and Jennings on 1st and 2nd down.
LINEBACKER (5) Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Cassh Mulia, Brandon Copeland, De’John Harris,
Mulia and his 4.53 speed, replaces Brandon King as ST ace. UDFA Harris got the biggest contract of all UDFA on the team and will replace Elandon Roberts.
CORNERBACK (5) Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, JC Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jojuan Williams,
Solid group and the strength of the team. All are signed through 2021 except J. McCourty. JC Jackson is a Restricted FA next year that will need to have a 1st round tender assigned. Myles Bryant is an intriguing UDFA and may have a chance at making the team. If not he should be a PS candidate.
SAFETY (6) Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Justin Bethel, Adrian Phillips, Cody Davis, Kyle Dugger
Another strength is the safety group. Chung and D. McCourty are over 30. That is why Phillips was signed as a FA and Dugger drafted. Bethel and Davis are ST aces and both are UFAs next year. Dugger will be the PR man.
Special Teams 4
K Justin Rohrwasser (1) P P Jake Bailey(1), LS Joe Cardona (1), Matthew Slater ST Capt (1)
Rohrwasser is not out of the woods with the 3% tattoo issue and that may haunt him all year. No one has really seen him kick in games conditions at this level so the jury is out on him.
Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Offseason
Tags: 2020 Patriots Offseason 53 Man Roster Projection