The New England Patriots are shifting focus to the second week of preseason football, and there are notable free agents for the team that are still unsigned.
That obviously doesn’t mean that’ll remain the case, but with roster cuts right around the corner, it does bring into question what the future holds for some of the players.
Could a return to New England be in the cards at some point? Or, will another opportunity pop up elsewhere to help fill a vacant roster spot?
So many things can happen over the course of training camp and preseason football that could create roster openings where there initially weren’t any. That means there’s still hope for every player on this list.
Here are the Patriots’ free agents that still remain unsigned.
OLB, Jamie Collins
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Jamie Collins always seems to end up back with the Patriots.
That has been the going theme throughout his NFL career. He arrived as a rare athletic specimen that was a threat as a pass-rusher, pass defender and run stopper.
However, at age 32, his wheels aren’t quite what they used to be. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t help a linebacker-needy team as a rotational player on the roster. There are still flashes from the good old days that pop up every now and then for Collins.
LB, Terez Hall
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Terez Hall was cut by the Patriots back in May after missing the entire 2021 season when placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list (PUP). There wasn’t much of a chance for him to stick on a roster with a crowded linebackers room.
But he’s still only 25 years old with his entire career ahead of him, if he can nab another opportunity. The former University of Missouri standout knows a thing or two about making a way for himself.
He walked onto the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2019 and managed to play in eight games and start in four.
QB, D’Eriq King
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It was always going to be an uphill battle for rookie quarterback D’Eriq King. Mac Jones is the obvious starter for the Patriots, and Brian Hoyer has been sitting pretty in the primary backup spot for years.
So King was going to have to somehow convince the Patriots he was better than their fourth-round draft pick, Bailey Zappe.
Things never panned out, and King was ultimately released by the team before the start of OTAs. And yet, his rare playmaking abilities as both a passer and a runner could make him a worthy experiment elsewhere.
OL, Liam Shanahan
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Liam Shanahan was in and out the door quickly in New England. The team brought him in as part of a group of undrafted rookie free agents, and he wasn’t able to stick on the roster.
He originally started his collegiate tenure at Harvard before transferring to Louisiana State to play in his final year. Good offensive linemen are always in high demand.
If Shanahan can prove he can bring something to a team, another opportunity could pop up at some point for him to live out his NFL dreams.
LB, Dont'a Hightower
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It’s hard to completely let go of Dont’a Hightower when his number is still available. Oh, and his locker is still there as well. It’s almost as if everything is being left untouched just in case he decides to check back in for another season.
There has also been no official word of retirement from Hightower’s camp. But then again, the Patriots have a young and talented linebacker corps capable of taking the reins of a player that will undoubtedly go into the franchise’s Hall of Fame someday.
It would still be interesting if Hightower ends up looking for another opportunity. If not the Patriots, someone will extend a hand to the former All-Pro and three-time Super Bowl champion.