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New England Patriots 2021 free agency outlook

The Patriots head into 2021 free agency coming off a 7-9 season. We break down their free agents, cap space, and more.

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots struggled by New England Patriots terms in the first year without Tom Brady and finished with a 7-9 record while Brady is back in the Super Bowl. New England could be fairly active in free agency with a ton of cap space, but the Patriots will need to find an upgrade at the always important quarterback position to return to AFC dominance. The Cam Newton experiment didn’t quite work out, and he is set to be a free agent after his one-year contract is expiring.

Lost revenue due to COVID-19 will impact every team, but with so many free agents the likely drop in the league wide salary cap number could make things difficult. The 2020 number was around $198 million, while the 2021 number could drop to $180.5 million according to Over The Cap, but is subject to change.

Franchise/Transition Tag possibilities

The Patriots placed the franchise tag on guard Joe Thuney last offseason. Like most teams, New England typically does not use the franchise tag all that often so it’s possible the Patriots don’t use it this offseason, though they have the money to spend compared to most of the NFL franchises. Of all the free agents on the Patriots’ roster, Thuney ranked the highest in Pro Football Focus’ top 100 free agents. He is only 28 years old and should be somebody the Patriots should hold on to, though it likely wouldn’t be on the franchise tag again. If the Patriots decide to utilize the franchise tag, they could be using it on kicker Nick Folk as he proved to be a reliable player on the roster last season.

Salary cap

Estimated 2021 cap space: $58,504,415

2021 transactions

Free agent signings


Free agent departures




Notable unrestricted free agents

* Denotes Restricted Free Agent (RFA)

Patriots 2021 Free Agents

Pos Player 2020 Team 2021 Team
Pos Player 2020 Team 2021 Team
QB Cam Newton Patriots
QB Brian Hoyer Patriots
RB James White Patriots
RB Rex Burkhead Patriots
WR Damiere Byrd Patriots
WR Donte Moncrief Patriots
C David Andrews Patriots
LG Joe Thuney Patriots
LG Jermaine Eluemunor Patriots
LG James Ferentz Patriots
EDGE John Simon Patriots
EDGE Deatrich Wise Patriots
EDGE Shilique Calhoun Patriots
EDGE Brandon Copeland Patriots
EDGE Carl Davis Patriots
IDL Lawrence Guy Patriots
IDL Adam Butler Patriots
CB J.C. Jackson* Patriots
CB Jason McCourty Patriots
CB Justin Bethel Patriots
S Terrence Brooks Patriots
S Cody Davis Patriots
K Nick Folk Patriots