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New England Patriots

Dec 2, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) runs after a catch against Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tramon Williams (29) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 19-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There are still plenty of notable free agents available, as the NFL gears up for the official start of the 2021 league year and free agency. Some big names remain in the free-agent pool, particularly at wide receiver, as the football world awaits the 4 p.m. start of free agency.

As is often the case in the NFL, many of the biggest free-agent signings in the league have already been reported as part of the legal tampering period. And the Patriots led the way, by far. They’ve made a whopping eight free-agent signings outside the organization, while also retaining four players from the 2020 roster.

But the Pats may not be done yet. As illustrated by contracts for free agents such as tight end Jonnu Smith and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, the Patriots are backloading contracts as much as possible to maintain their cap space for 2021. At the same time, they are setting up to still be safely under the cap when it spikes back up in 2022 and 2023.

One of the slight surprises so far is the relative lack of big-money deals for the top wide receivers available. It’s starting to seem more realistic that the Patriots could make yet another splash at that position, if the market isn’t what the players thought it was going to be. Scroll down for a list of the most notable free agents available, plus some under-the-radar options for the Patriots.

We’ve got you covered throughout day 3 of legal tampering and the start of the 2021 league year and NFL free agency. Follow the latest Patriots news & rumors at the 98.5 The Sports Hub Patriots Free Agency Tracker.

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.