The Patriots are looking at a busy offseason. They have an abundance of soon-to-be free agents who are worthy of new deals, but figuring out who should be re-signed, when, and for how much is a complicated equation for the Patriots front office. Team president Jonathan Kraft suggested on Sunday that figuring out the best plan of attack is made even more difficult during the season when both front office personnel and players are focused on how to win games.
"I think once you get into the season," Kraft said, "the parties involved all get distracted by the rigors of day-to-day, which from a time perspective makes it a little more difficult to put something together . . . Things have a way in the offseason of working out pretty good too. We'll figure it out."
Kraft said that while mid-season negotiations can be tough, the Patriots will not cut off discussions at any point, regardless of how far along the season may be.
"I don't think," Kraft said, "there's any black-and-white rules like that . . . I think dymanics change for either side in a negotiation when you're in the season, up and down, and that ends up happening . . . We don't have any hard and fast rules like that."
Among impending Patriots free agents are linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, corners Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan, safety Duron Harmon and defensive end Jabaal Sheard.