As the New England Patriots’ season came to an end during wild card weekend, the team will now turn their sights to the offseason, which includes planning for free agency.
In total, New England will have just 19 players set to hit the open market. While the number of players set to be free agents is near the bottom of the league, several of those players were significant parts of the 2021 roster, including wide receiver Jakobi Meyers and offensive lineman Ted Karras.
Speaking Monday afternoon, both Meyers and Karras stated they want to return to New England.
“Oh yeah. I mean, definitely,” Meyers said when asked if he wanted to stay in Foxboro. “I enjoy being here.”
The 2019 undrafted free agent is likely to stay in Foxboro for 2022. New England is expected to tender Meyers - who will be a restricted free agent — allowing them the opportunity to match any potential offers from other clubs, or receive a draft pick for Meyers’ rights.
Meyers, who led the team in both receptions (83) and receiving yards (866), will most likely receive a second-round tender, which carries a value of $3.9 million. A first-round tender is expected to cost $5.5 million.
“Honestly, I feel like I've gotten better as a player, as a person, all of it,” Meyers said when explaining why he'd like to stick with the Patriots. “I think about my first day in the league and just where I was mentally. I just wasn't who I am today. I feel like I’m a much better player, a much better man. When you got a situation like that, it’s something you want to hold on to.”
As for Karras, 28, the versatile lineman returned to Foxboro after a one-year stint in Miami and became a fixture at left guard for the Patriots this season.
“I would always love to come back,” Karras said.
The Patriots will have a number of decisions to make across the offensive line, which will directly affect Karras’ future with the club. Right tackle Trent Brown is also a free agent, will left tackle Isaiah Wynn is set to play the 2022 season on his fifth-year option ($10-plus million cap hit). New England also has Michael Onwenu available, who has shown his versatility as an elite offensive lineman at multiple positions.
“I know this isn't the time to make any of those decisions, and I know that the organization is going to look at everything,” Karras said Monday. “Whatever happens, happens. I understand it’s a business. Obviously, [I] love being here and love the people here. I feel I fit in well. But, that’s a long way off, for now.”
The Patriots will have time to decide what to do with both Meyers and Karras, as well as the rest of their own free agents. Players will not be allowed to officially sign contracts with new teams until the new league year begins on March 16th, 2022.