The 2023 NFL Draft concluded already, but the time for acquiring free agents has not. Let’s see how the New England Patriots want to use their remaining leverage and capital. Here we are going to look at three free agents whom the Patriots must target after the 2023 NFL Draft to bolster their roster.
Despite adding some promising talent in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Patriots still have some personnel matters to attend to. They used their picks in the draft to try and address important needs and bolster their depth before the upcoming season. That said, there is still much room for improvement for the Patriots.
According to General Manager Bill Belichick, the team has acknowledged that there are still gaps to fill within their depth chart. They do still have some salary-cap space to potentially acquire established players who can contribute to their success in the upcoming season.
Of course, if the Patriots perform as expected, they can potentially have a successful campaign. However, they must make the most of their remaining resources as they face upcoming important decisions.
Let’s look at three free agents whom the Patriots must target after the 2023 NFL Draft to bolster their roster.
1. frank clark
Frank Clark is the ideal addition for any team seeking a seasoned veteran with a playoff-winning mentality. Although his regular season statistics may not be eye-catching compared to some other available free agents, Clark consistently delivered for Kansas City when it mattered most. In his four years with the team, Clark notched an impressive 10.5 sacks across 12 playoff games and played a crucial role in their two Super Bowl runs.
Frank Clark sacks Brady 💪
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 7, 2021
Approaching his 30s and coming off a relatively modest five-sack season, Clark may benefit from assuming a reduced role given his declining production. However, he remains a formidable power rusher who excels at defending the run. Moreover, his track record speaks for itself. He has consistently elevated his performance in playoff scenarios.
Despite his remarkable resume, Clark is still up for grabs as a free agent. Having been a key contributor to the Super Bowl champions, Clark’s recent season included five sacks, 39 tackles, 13 QB hits, and 24 pressures in 15 games. That said, the path to securing a free agent deal becomes clearer as OTAs approach. Additionally, Clark’s productivity remains noteworthy, as he ranked among the top 20 edge players in the NFL for total pressures last season, according to PFF.
2. Jadeveon Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney’s lingering availability in free agency has become an annual occurrence. After being signed by the Cleveland Browns in April 2021 and joining them late in May of the previous year, it is certain that Cleveland will not sign him this time around. In previous reports, Clowney emphasized his desire to be with an organization that believes in him.
Although his sack numbers have been inconsistent throughout his career, it’s important to consider his contributions beyond just that statistic. He is known for his prowess as a strong run defender and a reliable secondary pass-rusher. However, injuries have plagued him. He hasn’t played a full season without missing at least one game since 2017. Nevertheless, for teams seeking a starting defensive end with solid depth, Clowney would still be a valuable addition to their rotation.
Unfortunately, Clowney’s two-year stint with the Browns ended on a sour note. He was sent home and benched for the season finale due to comments he made to the media criticizing the organization and coaching staff. Despite this unfortunate ending, Clowney had an impressive first season with the Browns. In that first season in Cleveland, he recorded nine sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and 19 QB hits in 14 games. However, his numbers declined in the following season, with only two sacks and four tackles for loss in 12 games. The former No. 1 overall pick, who recently turned 30, played 63 percent of the snaps in the 2022 season.
3. Teddy Bridgewater
Following the NFL Draft, Teddy Bridgewater has emerged as an appealing option for several teams in need of a veteran QB. Many teams recognize the value of having an experienced player like Bridgewater on their roster and are considering adding him for various reasons.
Bridgewater’s early years in the league showcased his potential as a starting quarterback for the Vikings in 2014 and 2015. In his rookie season, he accumulated 2,919 passing yards and threw 14 touchdown passes. The following year, he led the Vikings to an impressive 11-5 record and secured a playoff berth.
Given his experience and skill set, it is highly likely that any team seeking a veteran presence in their quarterback room will prioritize acquiring the 30-year-old Bridgewater. He has accumulated a total of 65 NFL starts throughout his career, including two starts for the Dolphins in 2022. That said, both were cut short due to injuries. Last season, he completed 62 percent of his passes, throwing for 683 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions on 79 attempts.