With just two months to go until the start of free agency, the landscape is starting to take shape.
Four of the 27 Patriots slated to hit free agency this March ranked inside Pro Football Focus' top 100 upcoming free agents of the 2021 offseason. Joe Thuney was the highest-ranked of the group, coming in at No. 13, while Cam Newton, David Andrews and James White were slotted in at 34, 68 and 85, respectively.
Jason McCourty, Lawrence Guy and J.C. Jackson – who will be a restricted free agent – were not included on the list.
PFF made its predictions for where each of the top 100 free agents will wind up, in addition to what their new contracts will look like. The site picked the Patriots to retain White on a two-year, $10 million deal with $5 million guaranteed at signing, despite the 29-year-old running back saying he was unsure of what the future held when asked about his impending free agency on Jan. 4.
Andrews was also projected to return to New England on a three-year, $18 million contract, but his fellow offensive lineman Thuney was slated to sign a four-year, $57 million contract with the Cardinals. Thuney played the 2020 season under a franchise tag tender that paid him $14.8 million.
PFF made its prediction on the Patriots' future at the quarterback position as well, picking Newton to jump ship in favor of a one-year deal with the Bengals and projecting 17th-ranked free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick to come to Foxboro on a one-year, $10 million contract.
Other rumored Patriot free agent targets such as Lavonte David (No. 8), Hunter Henry (No. 10) and Corey Davis (No. 24) were picked to end up elsewhere.
The Patriots are projected to rank towards the top of the league this offseason with $57.3 million in cap space, and that figure could go up should certain veterans retire or get cut in the coming months. With roughly $21 million going to PFF top 100 free agents in this hypothetical scenario, there is still plenty of money to go around to other targets on the market.