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NFL free agency 2023: Damien Harris among 6 Patriots still unsigned after the first week

The first week of action is in the books, and it brought limited clarity for six of New England’s free agents.

New England Patriots (26) Vs. Minnesota Vikings (33) At U.S. Bank Stadium Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The first full week of NFL free agency 2023 is in the books, and it was an eventful one for the New England Patriots. The team made a total of 19 moves since the opening of the legal tampering window last Monday, and with $15.4 million remaining in cap space are likely not done either.

But while those moves stole the headlines, a significant portion of New England’s free agents class remains unsigned as of today. Of the 19 players headed for either unrestricted or restricted free agency, six did not see any movement one way or the others.

Let’s take a closer look at these six players to find out where things currently stand, and what can or cannot be expected moving forward.

Patriots free agents

WR Nelson Agholor: Agholor had a disappointing two-year stint in New England and never quite found his footing. While the team has not really made any moves to directly update his spot on the roster — JuJu Smith-Schuster will be replacing Jakobi Meyers — he still only appears to have slightly better chances of re-signing than other players on this list. A split looks like the best for both parties, with New England focusing on sophomore Tyquan Thornton as well as a potential draft and/or trade pickup. | Profile

OT Marcus Cannon: Cannon will turn 35 in March and had to end the 2022 season on injured reserve because of a concussion suffered in early November. One has to wonder whether the end of the line has been reached, at least in New England. The Patriots, after all, have also invested considerable resources in their right tackle spot by bringing in Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson off the open market, tendering restricted free agent Yodny Cajuste, and re-signing Conor McDermott. | Profile

RB Damien Harris: Harris was viewed as a potential re-sign candidate after testing the market, but at this point in time the four-year veteran has had a quiet free agency period. And with the Patriots signing James Robinson to a two-year, $4.5 million contract, it appears they might be ready to move in a different direction behind RB1 Rhamondre Stevenson. Things can always change at this time of the year, but right now the 26-year-old returning to the fold seems like a long-shot. | Profile

P Michael Palardy: The Patriots currently do not have a punter under contract, but they will probably still not be in a rush to re-sign Palardy anytime soon. The 30-year-old, after all, had a rough stint with the team in 2022 and his market is not an active one. Realistically, the team might wait until after the draft to see where it stands at punter; Palardy returning at that time — or another veteran being brought in — would still be possible then, even though riding with a rookie is the likely preference. | Profile

CB Joejuan Williams: Williams falls into the Nelson Agholor category of players who have some theoretical potential but never were able to put it all together in New England. The former second-round draft pick never emerged past backup status in the Patriots’ cornerback room, and seeing him sign another contract with the team would be a major surprise — even with the team currently having a need at the position. | Profile

OT Isaiah Wynn: Wynn’s biggest problem over the first four years of his career was not his play; he was a good left tackle — when available: he appeared in just 35 of 70 possible games between 2018 and 2021. In 2022, another issue emerged: he was moved to right tackle, and his play took a massive step back, all before another season-ending injury. Even with the Patriots’ “throw it on the wall and see what sticks” approach to the offensive tackle position this offseason, Wynn should not be expected back. | Profile

As can be seen, the Patriots’ six outstanding free agents are all realistic candidates to depart this offseason. Some of those had to be expected (Joejuan Williams, Isaiah Wynn), while others (Damien Harris) come as a surprise. At the end of the day, however, it appears the team feels confident in its ability to upgrade the spots those players held in 2022.