3 Free Agents the Patriots Should Sign Before NFL Draft

Three free agents the New England Patriots should sign ahead of the 2024 NFL draft.

Jan 1, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore (5)
Jan 1, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore (5) / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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The New England Patriots entered the offseason as potential big-game hunters given their enormous cap space. Instead, however, the Pats have managed to make just a few outside additions -- who are nice, but unspectacular -- and focused on re-signing talent instead.

Now the NFL draft is approaching and the Patriots' roster still lacks a few blue chips to really be competitive in 2024. With that in mind, here are a few free agents New England should sign before late-April's big event.

1. David Bakhtiari

The loss of Trent Brown in free agency certainly hurts the Pats, even if they're happy to remove a locker room nuisance from the building. Losing a top talent is never easy, especially at such a key position like left tackle.

That puts the pressure on Eliot Wolf and co. to fill the hole Brown leaves behind. While the draft provides a chance to bring in a promising youngster, the team should also consider a "bridge" veteran who could step in for the 2024 season and mentor a top pick.

Former All-Pro David Bakhtiari stands out as one guy who could be up to the task.

The last few years have been a struggle for Bakh in the health department, which has lowered his apparent value to the rest of the league. However, the Patriots could capitalize here by offering an incentive-laden contract that protects them if he continues to rack up DNPs.

Bakhtiari was truly one of the game's best in his prime, earning either All-Pro or Pro Bowl (or both) nods over five straight seasons before injuries got in the way. Three of those years he also allowed just two sacks or fewer protecting Aaron Rodgers' blindside.

The injury concerns are valid, and that's why a tackle should still be drafted highly by NE even if Bakhtiari is signed, but there's no denying the upside here, especially if he's able to be had for cheap.