4 former Patriots fan favorites who should be brought back in 2024

The New England Patriots are coming off the franchise's worst season in recent memory. Now, it's time to welcome back some former stars that get us that fuzzy feeling of winning again.

Arizona Cardinals v New England Patriots
Arizona Cardinals v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
1 of 4

The New England Patriots are in a place they may not be used to. Nobody expects them to do much of anything in 2024. That's because they laid the biggest egg possible in 2023. Bill Belichick is gone, out of the league for the first time since the 1970s. He was the Patriots head coach since 2000, as this team hasn't known a different head coach since Y2K was a thing (which many readers might have to search). Do you know who the last head coach of the Patriots was? It was none other than Pete Carroll.

Now under Jerod Mayo, the Patriots aren't looking to rest on their laurels. Owner Robert Kraft is 82 years old. He's been skating by without spending to the salary cap because he had Belichick, but now it's time to revamp this team if he wants to see another Super Bowl before he's forced to step down.

Ironically, the team under Belichick was always bringing players back for second and third runs with the franchise. Deion Branch had a very deliberate exit from the Pats when they wouldn't pay him a huge salary, but he returned at the end of his career and grew an incredible chemistry with Tom Brady. Jamie Collins went to take the money in Detroit, but when that didn't work out, he returned to listen to the Patriot Way and once again became a Defensive Player of the Year candidate (at least for half of a season). The list continues with Kyle Van Noy, Tebucky Jones, Brandon Bolden, and Ted Karras.

Which former Patriots would make great future Patriots?

It might make sense for the Patriots to deploy that strategy again. The Pats have more than $85 million in salary cap space after re-signing Hunter Henry this week according to Over The Cap. These former Patriots would be primed for a comeback.

Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback

Despite his age, Stephon Gilmore is still one of the biggest free agents on the market, taking over for an injured Trevon Diggs last season and holding down the fort for the Dallas Cowboys. Gilmore would make an amazing addition to the Patriots secondary who just cut J.C. Jackson and his massive salary. Gilmore wouldn't need to provide as much as he did in Dallas, as the Pats still have Shaun Wade, Jonathan Jones, and a returning Christian Gonzalez in what could be a fabulous secondary. They also placed the franchise tag on stud safety Kyle Dugger.

In our top 30 free agents piece, we predicted Gilmore would sign with the Ravens, but what if the money isn't there? We usually believe teams can figure out the salary cap (usually by asking a QB to restructure his contract), but it might not happen for Baltimore.

The Patriots aren't going to be perceived as Super Bowl contenders, but Gilmore has been there, done that thanks to his time in New England. Maybe he joins an up-and-coming team with a new quarterback and fun regime under Jerod Mayo. He'd be the type of veteran to get this group going, and his impact would be felt on the field and off it. Plus, the Patriots can back a Brinks truck to his door so he says yes, and it would be a short-term commitment for everyone.