Before the start of the NFL's 2018 free agency period, the New England Patriots had a total of 14 players headed for the open market. Of those 14 guys, 12 have already found a home for the upcoming season: Exactly half of them re-signed with the Patriots, while six more opted to leave New England through the open market – among them core players from years past like Nate Solder, Malcolm Butler, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola.
The ancient art of subtraction tells us that this leaves two players unaccounted for:
DT Ricky Jean Francois
LB James Harrison
Jean Francois and Harrison are joined on the open market by four more members of the 2017 Patriots, but they have all been released by the team at one point during the offseason: linebacker Shea McClellin, wide receiver Bernard Reedy, and defensive linemen Alan Branch and Caleb Kidder. None of the four players should be expected back soon but it wouldn't be the biggest surprise if McClellin, Reedy or Kidder were ultimately re-signed.
Of the other two, only one is a realistic option to be re-signed: After Ricky Jean Francois already announced that he would move on from the Patriots, James Harrison is the team's only free agent left to be re-signed. New England reportedly inquired about a potential reunion, but a decision – at least on the veteran defender's part – will not be made before the draft is over.
Could the Patriots bring back Harrison? Of course, as he became a solid in-season acquisition last year. However, with the free agency signing of Adrian Clayborn and last year's third-round draft pick Derek Rivers returning from injury, there does not appear to be an immediate need on New England's roster for Harrison, who will turn 40 in early May, to fill.
The fate of the Patriots' 2018 free agency class could therefore already be set in stone.