2021 NFL free agency: 10 targets for Patriots as tampering window opens

NBC Sports Boston
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Free agents for Patriots to target as tampering window opens originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Time to tamper. 

The NFL's legal tampering period -- where agents of free-agents-to-be can negotiate contracts with teams for two days ahead of the official start of free agency -- began Monday at 12 p.m. ET.

Have conversations already been had between free agents and prospective clubs? Of course. Quietly. But new contracts now can be agreed to and later signed when the new year begins on Wednesday.

A couple notes here before we dive into some top tampering targets for the Patriots: First, players who've been released by their teams before reaching the ends of their contracts can agree to deals at any time, so you won't see any cap-casualty names listed here. Second, the names you will find here are the names who may require early action. 

So while players like Jets edge defender Tarrell Basham and Raiders linebacker Raekwon McMillan -- a couple of Prototypical Patriots from a few years ago -- seem like pretty good fits for New England, we won't list them here.

Here are 10 free agents for Patriots to target as tampering window opens.