3. Josh Uche, LB
A breakout star in 2022, Josh Uche had 11.5 sacks despite not starting a game for the Patriots. In 15 appearances as a rotational pass-rusher, he seemed to be ready for more in 2023. At just 25 years of age, there was no reason to assume otherwise.
Unfortunately, that's not how things played out. Uche has been a non-factor for much of the year and enters Week 18 with just 11 tackles and three sacks. His snap percentage is down slightly but the real reason for the lack of production has come down to his performance. As it stands now, he's ranked as the 83rd EDGE out of 114 according to PFF.
What makes his lack of production even more frustrating for New England was how desperately they needed him. Matthew Judon was lost in Week 4 to a torn bicep and that left them short on pass rushers off the edge. Defensive tackle Christian Barmore leads the way with 8.5 sacks but after that, it's Deatrich Wise with 4.5 and then Matthew Judon and JaWhaun Bentley with four each.
Perhaps someone will look at Uche's play in 2022 and decide to roll the dice on him as a piece of their pass-trushing puzzle. It's just not likely to be New England that offers him a contract this offseason.