New England Patriots

Oct 21, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater (18) recovers a muffed punt in the second half as New York Jets defensive back Matthias Farley (41) reacts at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth,

In 2019, Matthew Slater played as good of a season as he has in recent memory. In 2020, he plans on doing it again.

During Wednesday’s Pro Bowl practice, Slater told Jeff Howe of The Athletic he would like to return to the Patriots next season. The special teams ace’s contract expires at the end of the league year, he’s one of 20 players the team will have to make a decision on between now and March 18th.

A captain since 2011, Slater is coming off of his fifth career All-Pro season. Along with mid-season signing Justin Bethel and rookie punter Jake Bailey, he formed an elite kick coverage unit that regularly pinned Patriots opponents deep in 2019. He also scored his first career touchdown, recovering a blocked punt against the Buffalo Bills in week four. Bill Belichick has always prioritized special teams, but can he fit Slater into the budget and onto the roster in 2020? If he can, it sounds like 12-year pro is open to a return.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Hate mail? Let him hear it on Twitter @RealAlexBarth