Patriots Captain Matthew Slater Says He Won't Retire: 'I Want to Keep Playing'
One of the looming decisions this offseason was Matthew Slater's decision to keep playing or retire. At 34 years of age and just finishing his 12th NFL season, the special teams standout and captain's contract is set to expire this offseason, making him a free agent. So, the expectation was Slater and his family would decide whether it was time for him to call it a career or if he should continue to play the game he loves.
Slater chose the latter.
While down at the AFC's first Pro Bowl practice of the week, Slater told Jeff Howe of The Athletic that he has decided that retirement is not an option this offseason.
“I definitely feel like my family and I thought about it a lot,” Slater said “I still love to play and want to continue to play. I guess as of now, I want to keep playing. We just have to see how things go from here. There are a lot of things up in the air that I don’t know, but I’m going to approach it as though I’m preparing to play next year. We’ll kind of go from there. That’s where we’re at.”
Earlier today is was reported that safety and captain Devin McCourty also thought that retirement was "not an option" this offseason despite being 32 years old and entering his 11th season in the NFL. That news, coupled with Slater's remarks gives the Patriots an opportunity to retain two of their key veterans players this offseason, if those players choose to take a hometown discount to stay in New England. With a projected $28 million in cap space available to them this offseason, the Patriots would need guys like McCourty and Slater to come back cheap if they wanted to retain talent as well as add more talent via the free agency pool.
Slater's contract negotiations will be one of several key negotiations that will take place this offseason. With Tom Brady slated to be a free agent for the first time in his career, and with Joe Thuney, Kyle Van Noy, and Jamie Collins testing the market, you can bet New England has already started crunching the numbers to figure out their best case scenario this offseason, which will hopefully put them one step closer to championship-form.