The Patriots Have the Perfect Free Agent Target After Increased Salary Cap

With the increased salary cap, the New England Patriots should aim high for one of the best edge defenders in the game in free agency.
Dec 31, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen (41)
Dec 31, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen (41) / Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL's announcement on Friday that the salary cap will be skyrocketing for the 2024 league year, the Patriots will have over $80 million in cap space to spend, the second-most of any NFL franchise.

Couple Friday's events with new head coach Jerod Mayo's vow to "burn some cash", New England will assuredly be scouring the free agent market to upgrade a roster that is depleted of top-end talent.

One such pending free agent, Josh Allen (no, not the one you're thinking of), is one of the premier players available in his class after five seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Allen, an edge rusher, is ranked by Pro Football Focus as the third-best pending free agent. PFF also identified the New England Patriots as one of two potential destinations for Allen, along with the Carolina Panthers.

Jaguars EDGE Josh Allen is the Perfect Free Agent Fit for the Patriots

Allen was an absolute game-wrecker in 2023, recording an astronomical 17.5 sacks and 33 quarterback hits while terrorizing opposing offensive lines. Allen added 17 tackles for a loss, and his 90 pressures were the fifth-most in the league among edge rushers. Needless to say, those totals would have all ranked first on the 2023 Patriots. His standout campaign earned him both a Pro Bowl nod and a big paycheck this spring.

Edge rusher isn't a foremost priority position for New England in free agency, but Allen lining up opposite of four-time Pro Bowler Matthew Judon would create quite the formidable pass rush for the defensive-minded Jerod Mayo.

Patriots edge rusher Josh Uche is also a pending free agent and could be taking the field in a different uniform next season. Regardless, truth be told, New England simply doesn't have enough talent on the roster as currently constructed to cross off any position and feel completely comfortable with their group in-house.

Jacksonville retains the right to franchise tag Allen, and this could ultimately be a major obstacle to the Patriots' pursuit. However, the Jaguars and Allen have already hit some friction after general manager Trent Baalke remarked that "Josh will be a Jaguar" in 2024, without apparently running that by Allen himself first. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:

"That remark didn’t sit well with Allen and his representatives. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Allen’s camp is not happy that Baalke would take time to talk to the media about Allen before taking time to Allen or his agent about Allen."

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk

If the friction between Allen and the Jaguars is genuine, it could increase the odds that he might hit the open market this offseason. If the Patriots truly are going to "burn some cash" this offseason, Allen would be an extraordinary pickup.

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