The New England Patriots have a long list of players about to become unrestricted free agents next month, and none is bigger than Trent Brown — at least when speaking in literal terms. The 6’8, 380 lbs offensive tackle will hit the open market coming off the most successful season of his four-year career: Brown established himself as a starting-caliber left tackle for the Patriots in 2018 and played a key role in the team winning the Super Bowl.
This in combination with Brown’s age — he will turn 26 in April — will make him an intriguing option should he indeed hit the open market in mid-March. And as he recently pointed out on the Adam Schefter Podcast, he has a specific goal in mind approaching his first-ever stint as a free agent: “Hopefully, it’s somewhere where I can build some longevity,” Brown told Schefter when speaking about what he hopes the experience will bring.
“Somewhere that will be a great place and great fit schematically, in the locker room, on the field and also a great fit for my family, as well,” he continued. Brown, of course, did not find the longevity he spoke about just yet: while he opened his career as a seventh-round draft selection by the San Francisco 49ers, he was traded to the Patriots during last year’s draft — a move that turned out well for both New England and the offensive tackle.
Brown, after starting his career on the right side, moved to the left to fill the vacancy created by Nate Solder’s free agency departure just one month prior to the draft. Now, Solder’s successor might take a similar path: sign a multi-million dollar team and leave New England. However, when it comes to Brown himself he apparently is open to returning to the team with which he won a championship.
“That’s definitely something I would love, but we’re going to cross that bridge when we get there,” he told Schefter. For the Patriots and Brown to cross that bridge together, the team will likely have to pay their 19-game starter from a year ago in the double-digit millions: established left tackles — even those that are not quite elite — rarely hit the open market so when they do teams tend to jump on them (see: Solder, Nate).
New England might therefore find itself in a bidding competition for Brown’s services. But whatever happens, the Florida product will continue to do what he did during the first four years of his career: prove his doubters wrong and work on his craft. “Ever since I got drafted in the seventh round, I felt like that was definitely lower than expected and lower than I ever wanted to go,” he told Schefter.
“It all happens for a reason, but I felt disrespected by it, and I’ve been waiting for this time for a long time now,” Brown continued. “I’ve been putting in the work, busting my [butt]. I took a week-and-a-half off, and I’m already back to training, because I definitely don’t want people to feel like, ‘Oh, he’s going to get paid and then get lazy.’ No. I want to continue to win. I want to continue to get better, and I want to continue to chase my goals.”
With the franchise tag window opening tomorrow and free agency three weeks later, Brown will soon find out where he will be able to chase those goals.