15 Patriots Who Won't Return for the 2024 Season

Don't expect these Patriots players to return to New England in 2024.

Jan 7, 2024; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) warms
Jan 7, 2024; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) warms / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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13. Jalen Mills

Mills came to New England as part of the team's 2021 spending spree, inking a four-year, $24 million deal to join the Patriots from the Philadelphia Eagles. The former 7th-rounder out of LSU was a key part of the Patriots secondary in his first season, playing 89 percent of the team's defensive snaps in his first season in New England.

His snaps began to slowly dwindle as his playtime dropped to 75 percent in 2022. The Patriots released Mills in March 2023 to save $5 million against the cap, before he was signed back to the team five days later.

Mills' playing time only fell off further in 2023, he was only on the field for 40 percent for the Patriots' defensive snaps. The lack of playing time wasn't lost on Mills, who tweeted his displeasure with only playing 10 snaps in the team's Week 5 blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints.

He was shifted away from his natural cornerback position towards a safety role, but the emergence of Jabrill Peppers and Kyle Dugger as two of New England's best defensive players stunted his reps at that position.

Mills is a pending free agent and will turn 30 in April. He has already been released by the team once, and his age doesn't make him a prime candidate to be part of a potential rebuild. It would be surprising to see him back with the Patriots in 2024.