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3 players the New England Patriots should still target in free agency

The New England Patriots usually aren’t too involved in free agency—with this offseason being no exception. So far, they lost Trey Flowers, Trent Brown, and Rob Gronkowski while notably adding Michael Bennett.

After winning a Super Bowl, teams like the Patriots continue to find ways to reload and make another deep playoff run. New England just seems to know something that no one else does.

Nonetheless, the Patriots have needs on their team just like every other team in the NFL. They own 12 draft picks so they may elect to use the NFL Draft as their means of filling the voids on their roster.

There are still a few talented free agents who are still available to be signed by anybody. For example, Ndamukong Suh, Ezekiel Ansah, Eric Berry, and Jamie Collins are still in free agency.

Here are three guys who the Patriots should be interested in signing still from free agency.

3. Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Tight End)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins

With Gronkowski retiring this offseason, that leaves a huge void at the tight end position. New England will likely use one of their 12 picks on a tight end but they also could sign someone in free agency to improve the position.

One player who could be a nice fit for the Patriots is Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Seferian-Jenkins has played in the NFL for five seasons with three different teams.

Over the course of his career, Seferian-Jenkins has shown flashes that he can be a threat in the passing game. Most recently, Seferian-Jenkins caught 50 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns with the New York Jets in 2017 before grabbing only 11 receptions for 90 yards for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.

The Patriots have shown that they love to use two tight end sets on offense.

As a result, the Patriots could use Seferian-Jenkins and a rookie (if they do in fact draft one) as viable options on their offense.

2. Jamie Collins (Linebacker)

Jamie Collins, Browns

Most fans in New England would probably be up for a reunion between Jamie Collins and the Patriots. Collins played for the Patriots from 2013-2015—before being traded to the Cleveland Browns in 2016.

Collins may not be the same linebacker he was a few years ago but he could still be a perfect fit for the Patriots defensive scheme. New England loves to use different looks on defense by moving guys around.

Collins is a very versatile linebacker and is capable of playing inside linebacker or playing off the edge. The Patriots could use Collins along with D’Onta Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, and Elandon Roberts.

In 2018, Collins had 104 tackles (most since 2016), 13 tackles for loss (career-high), and four sacks (most since 2015).

A reunion between Collins and the Patriots organization may be controversial at first but fans would come around to liking the move.

1. Danny Shelton (Defensive Tackle)

Yes, the Patriots should re-sign Danny Shelton after not deciding to pick up his fifth-year option this offseason. Besides, if the Patriots brought him back he’d likely come at a cheaper price than the $7.1 million he was due if New England picked up his option.

Shelton was an important yet forgotten player for the Patriots in 2018. The talented defensive tackle was crucial in terms of stopping the run.

At approximately 345 pounds, Shelton is a stout run defender who moves well for his size. His stats don’t jump out at you but he does things that aren’t recorded in a stat book.

In 2018, the Patriots were ranked 11th against the run and there’s no doubt that Shelton was a key contributor to their run defense being good.

Shelton may be waiting in free agency for a team to take a chance on him but he could ultimately find himself back in New England in 2019.