New England Patriots 2022 free agent signings in the NFL – Reuters

NFL free agency is running, and we’re keeping track of every major signing, trade, and exit from the 2022 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and notes from our experts. . The league’s new year kicked off at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, which means free agent signings can now be made official. The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft begins April 28 on ESPN.

No team spent more than the New England Patriots on free agency last offseason, but don’t expect a similar approach this year. Cap space isn’t as plentiful. And there’s not a lot of money for everyone. Plans include starting internally with the hope of re-signing or extending key players who may not generate big headlines but have delivered in recent years (eg OL Ted Karras, K Nick Folk, P Jake Bailey, etc). Next, New England will consider options from other teams. So unlike last year when the Patriots got bigger, they are expected to be more sensible this time around.

Here’s a breakdown of every 2022 NFL free agent signing by the Patriots, and how each will impact the upcoming season:

McCourty is returning to the Patriots, agreeing to a one-year contract for $9 million, a source told ESPN on Sunday.

What this means: McCourty is back for a 13th season and the Patriots are keeping one of their all-time great leaders/culture builders in place. He can still contribute on safety, where he’s basically the high school quarterback and remains one of the fastest defenders on the team. But his mere presence has tremendous value in terms of what it means to be a patriot. Buying another year of this – in the locker room and on the field – has obvious value for Bill Belichick.

What is the risk: McCourty turns 35 in August and spending a year and $9 million on a player at this point in his career can be seen as a roll of the dice. The Patriots enter free agency with approximately $12 million in cap space, and while more space could always be created, McCourty’s deal eats away at it and potentially affects other more important signings.

The Patriots have reached a two-year, $5 million deal with Folk, a source has confirmed. The deal includes $2.19 million in guaranteed money.

What this means: Folk has a streak of 55 straight field goals from less than 50 yards — dating back to the start of the 2020 season — so the Patriots retain one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL. Folk needs one more to tie the NFL record of 56 consecutive goals from within 50 yards, set by Tennessee’s Ryan Succop (2014-17). The team has Quinn Nordin on the roster as a development option, but as long as Folk continues to produce alongside incumbent Jake Bailey and snapper Joe Cardona, Nordin’s time can wait.

What is the risk: The contract isn’t much for a regular kicker, but Folk turns 38 in November, making him one of the oldest players in the NFL. Nonetheless, there is a notable history of still-effective kickers in their 40s.

The Patriots have reached a two-year deal with Montgomery, as Josina Anderson first reported.

What this means: In the best-case scenario for the Patriots, the 6-foot-0, 216-pound Montgomery may be what Cordarrelle Patterson was for the team in 2018 — part running back/part receiver. The Patriots found ways to get the ball into Patterson’s hands that year — 42 carries for 228 yards and 1 touchdown to go along with 21 catches for 247 yards and 3 receiving touchdowns. Montgomery has a low cost (apparently a maximum of $4 million over two years), a pact that doesn’t necessarily guarantee him a role on the roster. But when you consider what the Patriots are looking for in a WR4 or RB4 — which factors in special teams contributions as well as a possible return — Montgomery’s profile makes sense as a possible fit.

What is the risk: The Patriots know what they have at the top of the running back depth chart (Damien Harris/Rhmondre Stevenson) and wide receiver ranks (Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne), so there is limited risk of competition for role players like Montgomery behind them.

The Patriots agreed to a one-year deal with the veteran cornerback for $3 million according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

What this means: Mitchell is an interim option as the Patriots adjust after JC Jackson left in free agency. Mitchell, an eight-year veteran, has played in 83 career games with 51 starts. The Patriots are his sixth NFL team, so he’s kind of a journeyman, but his performance last season against New England might have caught Belichick’s eye; Mitchell had seven tackles, one pass defended and a forced fumble on the goal line. The Texans signed him to a two-year, $6.5 million deal last offseason — so he had some value on the open market — but the club released him on March 10 and saved $100,000. space on the salary cap.

What is the risk: If Mitchell couldn’t stay with the Texans, one of the NFL’s worst teams last season, how could he improve the Patriots’ defense? Essentially, Mitchell provides a low-cost starting experience, but if he plays significant snaps in 2022, it means the Patriots’ hopes of decisively addressing the position after Jackson’s loss have not materialized.

Hoyer has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Patriots, his agent has confirmed. The deal is worth $4 million with $3 million guaranteed and incentives, a source told Schefter.

What this means: Similar to how Josh McCown had a long career in the NFL and was considered a top notch teammate and mentor to young quarterbacks, Hoyer is the same. His presence should continue to help second-year QB Mac Jones. Hoyer’s institutional knowledge has been of notable value to Belichick in the year that the offensive coaching staff has been transitioning without Josh McDaniels. Hoyer, a 13-year-old veteran entering his eighth year at New England, arguably knows the offense better than any offensive coach on staff.

What is the risk: The only risk is financial, as the team pledges to pay $3 million in guarantees/bounties/incentives to Hoyer. That’s not much for what Hoyer is adding to the team as a mentor and backup.

The Patriots have reached an agreement with special teams ace Matthew Slater to return for his 15th season with the team, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates. The deal is for one year with $2.62 million fully guaranteed.

What this means: Immediately after the Patriots’ disappointing playoff loss, Slater looked like a player unsure if he’d be back for a 15th season. But over time, he decided he wanted to play. And the key thing was that Belichick wanted him back, because Slater – a longtime captain whose niche covers kicks and punts – said he only wanted to play for the Patriots. Slater’s return ties him with Troy Brown and Julius Adams for the third-longest tenure in team history, behind Tom Brady (20 seasons) and Steve Grogan (16).

What is the risk: A $2.62 million fully guaranteed one-year deal for a special teams-only player is significant. Slater turns 37 in September and, in his own words, he hopes to do what his father Jackie did in his 20-year career: “delay the aging process” while reaching a stage in his career that few peers reach.

The Patriots are re-signing the veteran to a two-year contract, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates.

What this means: Continuing the cultural theme of their offseason in which they retained most of their key veterans, the Patriots and Belichick want to see if White can regain his pass-catching and lightning pickup form from before his hip injury during from week 3 of last season. If White can, he projects himself as a reliable outlet for Jones. If he doesn’t, it’s a modest investment ($500,000 guaranteed) to keep a franchise mainstay a little longer as the offensive coaching staff transitions. Tom Brady once said of White, “He does everything right and you can never get mad at him.”

What is the risk: If the 30-year-old White collapses or doesn’t regain his past form, that’s a sunk cost of $500,000. The team are still thinking about preparing a young third back, and it could be a player already on the roster – JJ Taylor.