3 big-name Patriots free agents most likely to stay in 2023

The New England Patriots have multiple key contracts coming due, following a disappointing season where they failed to make the playoffs.

But this offseason won’t necessarily be a situation where the team is forced to hit the reboot button. New England will have plenty of money to spend, which means they’ll be in a strong position to keep many of their pending 2023 free agents.

The fact that they came within a game of making the playoffs, despite all of the offensive blunders, should give them at least some faith in pushing forward with as many pieces from the 2022 roster as possible.

Here are three big-name Patriots free agents most likely to stay in 2023.

Damien Harris

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The running back market will be booming with opportunities for teams to boost their offensive backfield. That isn’t necessarily great news for Damien Harris, who could get lost in the pack behind bigger names like Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Kareem Hunt.

The Patriots obviously love Rhamondre Stevenson, but they’re going to need another strong runner in the mix to keep from running him into the ground. Harris is a sure-handed veteran, who runs with the sort of intensity that can pound opposing defenses into submission.

Granted, they aren’t going to break the bank with Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong Jr. waiting in the wings, but they should at least be competitive for Damien Harris’ services.

Even if coach Bill O’Brien puts more focus on the passing game, the Patriots are still built to lean heavily on their rushing attack. That isn’t going away in 2023.

Jabrill Peppers

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Bill Belichick’s defensive love language is versatility, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a player more versatile than Jabrill Peppers.

Free safety, box safety, cornerback, linebacker—the former first-round draft pick out of the University of Michigan can do it all. So it’s likely that the Patriots will make it a priority to keep him on the roster, especially if Devin McCourty ends up retiring.

Keep in mind, the Patriots aren’t the only team that could use a unicorn talent like Peppers, and there will likely be others vying for his services. But the Patriots are also projected to be in the top 10 teams in available cap space.

They’ll be in position to keep Peppers if they really want him.

Devin McCourty

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Devin McCourty has been working in as an NFL commentator to see what his post-playing career could potentially look like. But as of right now, he’s still completely torn on whether he wants to retire or come back to New England and play another season.

This is basically a coin flip prediction right here, but given the massive success the Patriots defense had last season and with Bill O’Brien taking over the offensive coaching reins, McCourty could decide to give it another go for one more year.

The team stunk on offense and still came within one game of making the playoffs, mostly due to their outstanding defensive play. McCourty hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down with 71 tackles, one fumble recovery, four interceptions and eight pass deflections in 2022.

He may not be the spring chicken he once was with the Patriots, but he can still be a key playmaker on the backend of the defense.

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Story originally appeared on Patriots Wire