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Patriots 2019 free agency profile: Will Cody Hollister be given another chance?

Hollister is an exclusive-rights free agent.

NFL: New England Patriots-Training Camp Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots ended the 2018 season in the best possible way, by defeating the Los Angeles Rams to win Super Bowl 53. In order to stay on top of the NFL mountain, though, the organization will have to quickly turn the page to get itself into a position to create the best possible team for the 2019 season. And a big part of building such a team is mastering the upcoming free agency.

If judged by the list of free agents to be, New England’s front office will be busy over the next few weeks before the new league year officially is kicked off on March 13. Also over the next few weeks, we will take a look at those free agents-to-be to find out who may or may not get re-signed by the Patriots; and who should be a part of the 2019 squad. Today, we’ll continue the series with wide receiver Cody Hollister.

#81 Cody Hollister

2019 opening day age: 25

2018 playing time: --

2018 statistics: --

2018 cap number: $363,000

Cody Hollister’s 2018 season ended before it even began: the second-year man, whose twin brother Jacob Hollister made New England’s 53-man roster as a backup tight end, was waived with a non-football injury designation in late July because of a back issue. After going unclaimed on waivers, the former undrafted free agent was placed on the non-football injury list. He was never activated off it and missed the entire season.

Why should he be re-signed? The Patriots are facing an uncertain future at the wide receiver position with Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson all unrestricted free agents, and Josh Gordon still suspended indefinitely. Keeping a cheap developmental option like Hollister in the fold would therefore be a smart move.

Why should he be let go? Hollister showed little in his two years in the NFL: he spent all of his 2017 rookie campaign on the practice squad, before sitting out 2018 due to injury. Unless the Patriots feel comfortable about his development, he has shown little that would warrant keeping him around over potential rookie additions.

Projection: As an exclusive rights free agent, only the Patriots are allowed to extend an offer sheet to Hollister and it would not be a surprise to see them do just that. Ultimately, the team will therefore likely bring him back on a one-year deal worth $645,000.