The 2016 regular season is over. This means that 20 of the NFL’s 32 teams have already entered their offseason and that coaching and personnel changes will happen across the league. It means that teams – no matter if they are still in the playoff race or not – can and will start building for the future.
One aspect of this is signing a select group of players currently on their rookie contracts to extensions. According to patscap.com’s Miguel Benzan, teams across the NFL can start extending their 2014 draft picks and 2015 undrafted free agents today.
The New England Patriots have four qualifying players currently on their roster:
OC David Andrews
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
LB Kyle Van Noy
RB James White
All four are still playing on their respective rookie contracts and are thus eligible to get extended beginning today (players no longer on their rookie deals, like offensive tackle Cameron Fleming, are not). Garoppolo, given the circumstances, is the least likely of the four to get signed to a long-term deal. In fact, he is a candidate to leave New England via trade this spring.
It would not be a surprise to see the Patriots lock up Van Noy, White and Andrews, though. However, it would be a surprise if the team extends them with more than a year left on their respective contracts. Van Noy and White are set to enter unrestricted free agency in spring 2018, while Andrews will become a restricted free agent at this point.
Time will tell who New England actually sees as a part of its long-term plans and is willing to invest considerable resources into.