Foxborough, MA– When the New England Patriots elected to forego placing the franchise tag upon any of their impending free agents, one of the players included in the mix was longtime New England kicker, Stephen Gostkowski. Most of the players brushed off by New England took the chance to join other teams around the NFL, but not Gostkowski. Ever since then, the team has been hard at work at re-signing Gostkowski to a new contract. But it hasn't been easy.
Twice now, the Patriots have reached out to various members of the team, including newly acquired defensive end Michael Bennett, to restructure their deals and provide bigger bonuses for them, in exchange for reducing the hit that their contracts took on the cap space. This limited amount of cap space was restricting New England's flexibility to offer Gostkowski a fair deal and, as a result, the veteran kicker elected to not take a deal for less than his estimation of his value.
There were rumors that Gostkowski was moving further away from the team and might have been eyeing a new destination, but eventually, New England got their cap under control and they just announced that Gostkowski is returning to the team on a two-year deal that will be worth $8.5 million dollars. This will bring Gostkowski to his fourteenth season with New England.
The Patriots also made waves with their first step towards a replacement for retiring tight end Rob Gronkowski when they signed former Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins to a one year contract, per ESPN's Field Yates. ASJ has been a key role player for many teams, including the New York Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he has never had a breakout moment. With a Gronk-sized hole to fill, he might just get his chance.
The Patriots have also been hosting meetings with other free agents around the league, including young running back T.J. Yeldon and veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. No deals have been announced yet, but there might be more new Patriots in the near future.