At the start of the free agency period, the New England Patriots lost several key players, but gained some crucial pieces that could help them in the 2018 season. The Patriots recently lost offensive tackle Nate Solder, running back Dion Lewis, cornerback Malcolm Butler, wide receiver Danny Amendola and offensive tackle Cameron Fleming. The Patriots acquired cornerback Jason McCourty, defensive tackle Danny Shelton and wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson via trades with the Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders. The Patriots also signed offensive tackle Mike Tobin, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, and running back Jeremy Hill.

Offensive tackle LaArian Waddle almost left the Patriots after he and Fleming visited the Dallas Cowboys, but he ultimately decided to stay in New England, signing a one-year contract.

Patriots sign another wideout

While waiting for the 2018 NFL Draft, the Patriots recently boosted their receiving corps by signing former Buffalo Bills wideout Jordan Matthews to a one-year deal days after his free agent visit to Gillette Stadium, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. A second-round pick by Philadelphia in the 2014 NFL Draft, Matthews caught 225 passes for 2,673 yards with 19 touchdowns in three seasons with the Eagles before he was shipped to the Bills last season. Matthews was a disappointment with the Bills, catching just 25 passes for 282 yards with one touchdown in 10 games.

However, the Patriots took their chance on Matthews as they were looking for a slot receiver to replace Amendola. Currently, the Patriots have a handful of wide receivers, including Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Cordarrelle Patterson, Phillip Dorsett, Kenny Britt, Matthew Slater, Riley McCarron and Cody Hollister.

Patriots add tight end, offensive tackle

The Patriots also added depth to their tight end chart by signing Troy Niklas to a one-year deal worth $940,000, per Mike Reiss of ESPN. Niklas played his first four NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, who selected him in the second round of the 2014 Draft. During that span, Niklas caught 19 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns in four seasons with the Cardinals.

The Patriots also beefed up their offensive line by signing former Baltimore Ravens guard/center Luke Bowanko to a one-year deal worth $835,000. Last season, Bowanko played in all 16 games for the Ravens as left tackle. The Patriots need a replacement for Solder, who signed a massive deal with the New York Giants.