New England Patriots

Report: Patriots could pursue these free agents to bolster their offense

The Patriots are seemingly making offense their top priority ahead of the free agency period.

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With the 2024 NFL Combine well underway, reporters around the New England Patriots are starting to get a better understanding of what the team will look to achieve this offseason. On Sunday morning, MassLive's Karen Guregian, Mark Daniels, and Chris Mason reported on some of New England's expected free agent targets to round out its offense.

Multiple reports suggest New England will look to select a quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft, potentially pairing that rookie with a veteran QB signed via free agency. While an initial report mentioned 39-year-old Joe Flacco as an option, this latest report also alludes to New England being interested in Jacoby Brissett and Gardner Minshew.

MassLive also added that the Patriots were interested in Baker Mayfield, but his potential salary of nearly $40 million per season would leave people within the organization "shocked" if the team was to pay that high for a bridge QB.

Brissett, New England's 2016 third-round pick, has spent most of his career as a journeyman. After departing from New England after his rookie year, Brissett spent four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts before bouncing around to the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, and most recently the Washington Commanders. Now 31, Brissett could see a reunion with the Patriots as a welcomed opportunity to log some starts while mentoring a rookie.

After an injury sidelined the Colts' top rookie prospect, Anthony Richardson, Minshew once again had the opportunity to step up as his team's QB1, and just like similar situations in the past, he did not disappoint. The 27-year-old gained a Pro Bowl nod, throwing for 3,305 yards on a 62.2 percent completion rate in his 17 games (12 starts) with the Colts this past season, tallying 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

While the team has been vocal about adding a game-changing player to its offense, MassLive is additionally reporting that such a move would be unlikely. Mike Evans, the top available free agent receiver, is reportedly only interested in signing with a contending team, with the next-best available receivers -- Calvin Ridley and Michael Pittman -- now expected to stay with their current teams. With those players likely out of the picture, the top available players left at the position would be Gabe Davis and Marquise Brown.

Despite Davis and Brown still reportedly available, MassLive reports the Patriots are most interested in signing 28-year-old Noah Brown. Brown came into his own on the Houston Texans last season under rookie QB CJ Stroud, logging a career-high 567 yards and two touchdowns as the team's third WR option. Once a seventh-round draft selection, Brown could be a good value add for the Patriots as they look to fill multiple holes within its roster.

As for the tight end position, MassLive is reporting that Hunter Henry will likely hit free agency. Although the team does have interest in having Henry return, the two sides are reportedly too far off on value in terms of a contract negotiation. To fill his shoes, New England is reportedly eyeing two-time Pro-Bowler Austin Hooper.

Hooper, who spent time with the Patriots new OC Alex Van Pelt in Cleveland, put up career-lows this past season with the Las Vegas Raiders, logging 25 receptions for 234 yards and failing to find the end zone for the first time in his career.

Gaining back-to-back Pro Bowl nods just a few seasons ago, the 6-foot-4 TE could be another good budget add for the Patriots.

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