3 Patriots on the Chopping Block Next after J.C. Jackson Release

Dec 17, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) warms
Dec 17, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) warms / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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On Friday, the New England Patriots released cornerback J.C. Jackson, putting an end to his second stint in New England. Parting ways with Jackson was an enormous financial boost for the Patriots, freeing up over $14 million in cap space.

Following Jackson's release, the Patriots now have the highest cap space in the NFL at over $101 million, and more relief could be on the way as the restructured braintrust purges the roster. Bill Belichick's choice of roster talent could be unconventional at times, and last season's 4-13 campaign delivered a strong dose of reality New England isn't building a roster to win Super Bowls anymore. Head personnel executive Eliot Wolf and company are now building a roster to rebuild.

While Jackson's release was driven more by his hefty cap hit and reliability concerns, it is still indicative of the rebuilding mission to overhaul the roster that Belichick left behind. J.C. Jackson won't be the last of the Belichick holdovers to back his bags this offseason, here are three more that could be sent packing soon too.

3. Davon Godchaux

387 NFL players recorded an NFL sack in 2023. Davon Godchaux, who is set to be the second-highest Patriots player in 2024, did not record a single one and registered a sole quarterback hit. Even worse, the seven-year veteran started all 17 games on New England's defensive line and lined up for 685 snaps.

Another member of the Why Did Bill Belichick Pay Him So Much Money Club, Godchaux initially joined the Patriots in free agency from the Miami Dolphins in March 2021. After his first season in New England, Belichick rewarded him with a contract extension in July 2022.

Godchaux is set to carry the third-highest cap hit on the Patriots in 2024 at $11.8 million, accounting for 4.6 percent of their cap total. Cutting the 29-year-old defensive lineman would free up $8.3 million in cap space for New England while carrying a dead cap hit of $3.5 million.

Now admittedly, sacks aren't always the most effective metric for evaluating interior defensive lineman, but the LSU product's 24 solo tackles and mere two tackles for loss were nothing to write home about either. Additionally, the 2023 emergence of 24-year-old Christian Barmore as a force on New England's defensive interior should help Wolf feel more comfortable about moving on from Godchaux.

Godchaux's age is up, his production is down, and his play isn't worth the price. New England might be forced to improve their depth at the position before they move on, though.