5 Most Important Patriots Free Agent Targets in 2024

Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) at
Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) at / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts

The first offensive player on this list, Michael Pittman Jr. would immediately inject some much needed talent on New England's offense. The Patriots offense sat at the bottom of the league in multiple statistical categories, including last in points per game (13.9), 30th in yards per game (276.2) and 29th in yards per play (4.6).

Receiver was a glaring weak spot on New England's offensive unit, as free agent signing JuJu Smith-Schuster was an overwhelming disappointment and Kendrick Bourne was lost for the season after tearing his ACL in Week 8. Sixth-round Rookie DeMario Douglas was the real lone bright spot at the position.

Meanwhile in Indianapolis, Pittman set a career high in receptions and yards with 109 catches for 1,152 yards and added four touchdowns. For the third consecutive season, the 26-year-old surpassed the 900-yard mark. The Patriots' leading pass-catcher this season was Ezekiel Elliott, with only 51 catches, while Douglas led the team with 561 receiving yards. Pittman's four scores would have equaled Rhamondre Stevenson's leading total on New England.

CBS Sports tabbed Pittman as their 10th-best free agent in the 2024 class, and the third-best free agent on the offensive side of the ball. Spotrac has Pittman's contract projected as a four-year, $90.8 million deal, with an average annual value of $22.7 million. Pittman is eligible to receive a franchise tag designation from the Colts, which would pay him approximately $22 million in 2024, something that the young receiver has expressed openness towards.

The Patriots need to upgrade their talent level on offense (which shouldn't be too hard with the bar set so low), and Pittman would be a big step towards doing so. If New England does bring in a young quarterback with the third overall pick, giving them an adequate supporting cast will go a long way towards protecting the young signal caller's development.