Patriots free agent targets: Five offensive tackles worth pursuing

Mike McGlinchey

The New England Patriots have money to spend entering 2023 NFL free agency, and they should splurge on a shiny new toy at ... offensive tackle?

While it's more fun to talk about high-profile wide receivers, you could argue the Patriots' biggest need is up front, where New England struggled to protect Mac Jones in 2022 by allowing 41 sacks compared to just 27 in 2021. Specifically, the Patriots could benefit from adding a right tackle, as Conor McDermott is the current projected starter with Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon set to hit free agency.

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Bill Belichick may opt to address that need in the 2023 NFL Draft, where he spent a first-round pick on offensive guard Cole Strange in 2022. But if the Patriots have doubts about landing their preferred tackle prospect at No. 14 overall, a safer bet is to acquire a proven veteran in free agency.

So, what are the Patriots' options if they go the free-agent route? Here are five right tackles who are pending free agents and could make sense in New England. (All projected contracts courtesy of Pro Football Focus.)

1. Mike McGlinchey, San Francisco 49ers

Age: 28

Projected contract: Four years, $ 62 million

Likelihood of joining Patriots (scale of 1 to 5): 4

If the Patriots want to spend big on an offensive tackle in March, McGlinchey might be their man. The No. 9 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft missed nine games in 2021 due to a torn quadriceps but returned in 2022 to start all 17 games at right tackle for a 49ers team that reached the NFC Championship Game.


At 6-foot-8, 310-pounds, McGlinchey is an excellent run-blocker and solid pass-blocker who exceled in Kyle Shanahan's zone-heavy attack. He wouldn't come cheap, but as our Phil Perry noted last week, the Patriots could back-load his deal to keep his cap hit under $ 5 million for the 2023 season.

2. Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans

Age: 31

Projected contract: TBD (Previous contract: five years, $ 80 million)

Likelihood of joining Patriots: 2

Lewan became one of several cap casualties in Tennessee last week when the Titans cut bait with his $ 14.8 million salary for 2023. A nine-year veteran and three-time Pro Bowler, Lewan should draw interest from plenty of tackle-needy teams -- one of which is the Patriots.

The 31-year-old has struggled with injuries in recent years, however, missing all but two games in 2022 due to a knee injury and missing 15 games combined in the previous two seasons. If Lewan is willing to sign a team-friendly deal, he's absolutely worth pursuing, but the injury risk may ultimately scare New England away.

3. Jawaan Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars

Age: 25

Projected contract: Four years, $ 64 million

Likelihood of joining Patriots: 3 recently listed Taylor as a potential free-agent for the Patriots, and it's certainly an enticing scenario. The 6-foot-5, 312-pound tackle ranked third among all NFL offensive tackles in pressure rate last season, per PFF, allowing pressure on just 2.5 percent of QB dropbacks.

Taylor's contract could approach McGlinchey territory, but he's also the youngest player on this list, so if New England believes Taylor can be its starting right tackle for years to come, it may be worth paying the price.

4. Kaleb McGary, Atlanta Falcons

Age: 27

Projected contract: Four years, $ 52 million

Likelihood of joining Patriots: 3

McGary had arguably the best season of his career in 2022, ranking second among offensive tackles with a 91.8 run-blocking grade, according to PFF. Another former first-round pick (31st overall in 2019), the Washington alum has only missed three games over four NFL seasons and would provide stability at the right tackle spot for New England.

McGary should make well over $ 10 million per year as well, but he might cost the Patriots slightly less than McGlinchey or Taylor.

5. Kelvin Beachum, Arizona Cardinals

Age: 33

Projected contract: Two years, $ 3 million

Likelihood of joining Patriots: 4

If the Patriots don't want to break the bank on an offensive tackle but still want to acquire a proven veteran, they should take a long look at Beachum, who's still a productive offensive tackle after 11 years in the NFL. Beachum has experience at both left and right tackle between stops with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals and remains an above-average pass-blocker.


There's a lot of tread on the tires, but he's coming off a two-year, $ 4 million deal and could be had at a fraction of the cost of the names listed above.