New England Patriots 2022 free agent signings in the NFL – Reuters
NFL free agency is on the move, and we’re tracking every major signing, trade, and exit from the 2022 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and expert ratings. The league’s new year begins at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, which means free agent signings can be made official afterward. 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 (e.g. 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 NFL free agent signing in 2022 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 to 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 considered 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 larger signings.
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 ESPN’s Adam 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 the 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.