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2018 NFL free agency: Take a look at the Patriots about to hit the open market

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Some core members of the club are set to become free agents.

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The New England Patriots’ 2017 season came to a disappointing end with the team’s 41-33 loss in Super Bowl 52. The team that stepped on the field against the Philadelphia Eagles was a talented but ultimately flawed one; one that will look a lot different from the one that will exit the tunnel on opening day in September.

A look at the list of upcoming free agents shows where there might be changes from this year to the next.

Unrestricted free agents

WR Danny Amendola

CB Johnson Bademosi

RB Brandon Bolden

RB Rex Burkhead

CB Malcolm Butler

SS Nate Ebner

OT Cameron Fleming

LB Marquis Flowers

LB James Harrison

DT Ricky Jean Francois

RB Dion Lewis

WR Matthew Slater

OT Nate Solder

OT LaAdrian Waddle

Overall, 14 members of the 2017 Patriots are about to enter the open market once the new NFL league year begins on March 14. And the list of New England's unrestricted free agents features some big names in all three phases of the game.

On offense, starting left tackle Nate Solder will hit the open market as will the top two backup tackles and core rotational players Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead. Defensively, New England will likely lose cornerback Malcolm Butler, while Marquis Flowers, Ricky Jean Francois and James Harrison have all proven to be productive players as well. The special teams unit, meanwhile, sees Matthew Slater, Nate Ebner and Brandon Bolden headed towards free agency.

In short: The Patriots front office headed by Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio has its work cut out for it. Re-signing a healthy portion of players on the free agents list is a must – despite there likely being some healthy competition for some players. Nate Solder, Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead and Malcolm Butler in particular project to be highly sought-after player given their positions' free agency market and their past productivity for New England.

Realistically, the Patriots will likely re-sign at least one of their offensive tackles – with Solder the clear priority candidate – and one of their running backs. The rest of the players are not expected to break the bank with the exception of Butler. However, given what transpired during the Super Bowl, it is hard to see the soon-to-be 28-year old return on a long-term contract.

Restricted free agents

SS Brandon King

As a restricted free agent, Brandon King can be tendered at one of three levels, each including the right of first refusal. The Patriots can either use the first round tender worth an estimated $4.2 million, the $2.9 million second round tender or the $1.9 million original round tender. In case another team signs King to an offer sheet, the Patriots would then have five days to match or receive the draft pick appropriate for the tender as compensation.

While the 24-year old is a core special teamer, it would be a surprise to see the Patriots use much more than the original round tender. In King's case, given that he was picked as an undrafted rookie, this would give New England the right of first refusal only. However, it is hard to see a team value him at more than $1.9 million on a one-year contract.

Exclusive rights free agents

DE Caleb Kidder

An undrafted rookie, Caleb Kidder was released by the Patriots in late August and after going unclaimed reverted to the team's injured reserve list. If New England believes that Kidder can contribute this season, the team will extend a tender offer sheet to the 24-year old – the only club, hence the “exclusive” tag, allowed to do so.