Patriots Must Use 2016 Offseason to Prepare for Big 2017 Free-Agent Class

January 29, 2016   ·     ·   Jump to comments

The New England Patriots don't have a lot to worry about for 2016. It's 2017 where they will have quite a few hurdles to clear.
The only big-name free agents this year are running back LeGarrette Blount, fullback James Develin, defensive tackle Sealver Siliga and defensive end Akiem Hicks. In 2017, though, that list grows a bit. There are a lot of big names to lock up, from Jabaal Sheard to Chandler Jones to Dont'a Hightower to Rob Ninkovich to Logan Ryan to Sebastian Vollmer to Jamie Collins.
This might seem like an easygoing offseason on the surface, but beneath that surface, the wheels have to be in motion to prepare for a major offseason in the near future.
Right now, the Patriots are sitting just $4 million below the 2016 salary cap, according to sports contracts website OverTheCap.com. They may not need a lot of cap space now, but they will need some room in order to sign their own draft picks as well as their free agents. Whatever they don't use can be rolled...

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