The focus of New England's backfield has shifted. (NFL Game Rewind)

The focus of New England’s backfield has shifted. (NFL Game Rewind)

The New England Patriots have 60 players under contract for the 2015 season.

Among them are the likes of Vince Wilfork and Darrelle Revis, who will have options the organization will have to pick up or renegotiate. Not among them are the likes of Devin McCourty and Stephen Gostkowski, who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.

But the dust has yet to settle on those decisions.

Until it does, here is an early glance at where each position on New England’s roster stands.


  • Tom Brady
  • Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Garrett Gilbert

Unrestricted: None

Exclusive-Rights: None

Behind the three-time Super Bowl MVP is Garoppolo, a 2014 second-round pick, and Gilbert, a former St. Louis Rams sixth-round pick who finished the year on New England’s practice squad. Garoppolo went 19-for-27 passing  for 182 yards and a touchdown as a rookie this past season, while Gilbert was not on the active roster. But even with Brady turning 38 in August, the Patriots’ quarterback position looks to be in good standing.

Running Back

  • LeGarrette Blount
  • Jonas Gray
  • Brandon Bolden
  • James White
  • Tyler Gaffney
  • Dion Lewis

Unrestricted: Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley

Exclusive-Rights: James Develin

With Vereen and Ridley set to become unrestricted free agents in March, New England’s interim backfield remains an assorted one. Blount netted 281 rushing yards and three scores with the team in 2014, while Gray netted 412 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Returning behind them is Bolden, a core special-teamer who signed an extension in January, and White, a fourth-round pick who essentially redshirted his rookie year. New England’s group is composed of mainly power, but the team could be on the lookout for a third-round receiver. Vereen’s trip to free agency comes after an 11-catch performance in Super Bowl XLIX.

Tight End

  • Rob Gronkowski
  • Tim Wright
  • Michael Hoomanawanui

Unrestricted: None

Exclusive-Rights: None

New England’s tight end position is slated to have all three of its components back in the fold. Gronkowski caught 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns over the regular season, while the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Wright caught 26 passes for 259 yards and six touchdowns after coming over from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in August. Hoomanawanui rounds out the group as a special-teamer and primary blocker in two-tight end power sets. The latter two’s offensive utilization has been streaky, and very much contingent on the matchup.

Wide Receiver

  • Julian Edelman
  • Brandon LaFell
  • Danny Amendola
  • Josh Boyce
  • Matthew Slater
  • Aaron Dobson
  • Jonathan Krause

Unrestricted: None

Exclusive-Rights: Brian Tyms, Greg Orton

Edelman and LaFell caught 166 passes for 1,925 yards and 11 touchdowns over the course of the 2014 regular season. And with them in three-receiver personnel, Amendola caught 27 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown before emerging in the postseason. Amendola, also the team’s primary return man, will earn approximately $4 million in base salary in 2015, but that could potentially be restructured before then. The future beyond that top trio is up in the air. Boyce and Dobson tallied three receptions for 38 yards in five appearances combined, with one placed on injured reserve and another promoted from practice squad.

Offensive Line

  • Nate Solder
  • Sebastian Vollmer
  • Bryan Stork
  • Ryan Wendell
  • Cameron Fleming
  • Josh Kline
  • Marcus Cannon
  • Jordan Devey
  • Caylin Hauptmann
  • Chris Barker

Unrestricted: Dan Connolly

Exclusive-Rights: None

Connolly, a Patriots captain and starting left guard, will become a free agent next month, while the rest of the offensive line remains under contract through next season. Solder and Wendell, the team’s starting left tackle and right guard, respectively, are entering the final years of their deals. Both could be candidates for renegotiations or extensions.

Defensive Tackle

  • Vince Wilfork
  • Chris Jones
  • Joe Vellano
  • Dominique Easley
  • Antonio Johnson

Unrestricted: Alan Branch

Exclusive-Rights: Sealver Siliga

With Siliga an exclusive-rights free agent and Branch an unrestricted free agent, New England’s defensive tackle group presently has four familiar names on the books for next season. The 33-year-old Wilfork played all 19 games coming off a torn Achilles last September, and he is due a $4 million roster bonus on March 10, providing the organization picks up his final two years by March 9. And the 22-year-old Easley, a first-round pick last May, is coming off a rookie campaign that ended on injured reserve due to knee ailments.

Defensive End

  • Rob Ninkovich
  • Chandler Jones
  • Zach Moore
  • Michael Buchanan
  • Jake Bequette
  • Rufus Johnson

Unrestricted: Akeem Ayers

Exclusive-Rights: None

Ninkovich logged over 1,000 defensive snaps for the fourth consecutive season, while Jones missed six games with a hip injury. The two amassed 12 sacks in total, however, and Ayers filled in for Jones to amassed four sacks in nine games. But with Ayers’ future uncertain and Jones now healthy, addressing the edge depth figures to be a focal point moving forward. Moore was a sixth-round pick in 2014, while Buchanan was a seventh-rounder in 2013 and Bequette was a third-rounder in 2012. Altogether, those three played just over 100 snaps combined, with Buchanan moved to injured reserve and Bequette moved to the practice squad.


  • Dont’a Hightower
  • Jamie Collins
  • Jerod Mayo
  • Darius Fleming
  • Deontae Skinner
  • Eric Martin
  • Cameron Gordon

Unrestricted: Jonathan Casillas, Chris White

Exclusive-Rights: James Morris

Though Mayo was lost to a patellar injury a year after being lost to a pectoral injury, the two linebackers alongside him emerged in 2014. Hightower and Collins, former first- and second-round draft choices, played at an All-Pro level for much of the season. And as a result, Mayo’s contract is now at the forefront. The green dot, team captain and Pro Bowler is due over $22 million in base salary through 2017, and could be on the radar to restructure.


  • Darrelle Revis
  • Brandon Browner
  • Kyle Arrington
  • Logan Ryan
  • Malcolm Butler
  • Alfonzo Dennard
  • Daxton Swanson
  • Justin Green

Unrestricted: None

Exclusive-Rights: None

This is where the first domino resides. Revis’ contract with the Patriots stands as two-year pact through 2015, but the manner in which it’s put together leaves a $25 million cap charge with a $20 million team option on the season year. The four-time first-team All-Pro is due a $12 million roster bonus come April 1.


  • Patrick Chung
  • Duron Harmon
  • Tavon Wilson
  • Nate Ebner

Unrestricted: Devin McCourty

Exclusive-Rights: None

Four of the safeties on the Patriots’ roster are under contract through next season, with Chung most recently extended in January. But there is another domino waiting in centerfield for New England, as McCourty is set to embark on free agency in the middle of March. If the organization elects to invest long-term at another position, the cornerback-turned-safety could still be retained with the franchise tag, which is around $9.5 million for 2015. Teams have until March 2 to designate a player.


  • Ryan Allen

Unrestricted: Danny Aiken, Stephen Gostkowski

Exclusive-Rights: None

Aiken and Gostkowski will both become unrestricted free agents next month, while Allen currently holds down the fort of the specialists through the 2015 season. Aiken has snapped in all but one game for the Patriots since joining the team in 2011, and Gostkowski has kicked in all but eight games since 2006. But it is Gostkowski who will draw significant attention after a 35-of-37 campaign resulted in Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors. The 31-year-old kicker signed a five-year contract worth over 15 million in 2010.