The first players I'm going to put on my must keep list are likely to be names that you aren't familiar with because they always "do their jobs". The two men who start every play except kickoffs are both due to become free agents. Center Ryan Wendell has been initiating the offense for the past two years and should continue to do so. Wendell is only 27 and has a lot of football ahead of him. Besides, he's our center and you don't know his name. Long snapper Danny Aiken also usually goes unnoticed during a game also, unless of course he's making a tackle. Yeah, our long snapper has 4 solo tackles on the season and our special teams unit has been very consistent all season. That all starts with a quality snap from Danny Aiken and should continue into next season.
Key offensive players who are due to become free agents are RB LeGarrette Blount and WR Julian Edelman. Personally, I would like to see both of them resigned as I think they will continue to be successful as long as they are in a Patriots' uniform and given the opportunity. Blount and Edelman are both 27 years old which makes them younger than the fragile Danny Amendola. If money is an issue, I'd like to see the Patriots shop Amendola to keep Edelman. Not even considering the fact that Amendola was injured most of the season and new to the offense, I think Edelman is a better player. Although Amendola has a higher yards after the catch average (4.3 to Edelman's 3.9) it seems like Amendola rarely catches the ball without bobbling it. Amendola is signed through the 2017 season with an average salary of $5.7 million.
Defensive free agents who I'd like to resign assuming the price doesn't get completely out of hand are Aqib Talib and Brandon Spikes. At the beginning of the season Talib looked like he was going to get a payday that might be bigger than what Bob Kraft would like to pay. Now, I have no idea what he'll be able to get in free agency. Brandon Spikes also deserves to get a pretty nice offer from the Patriots. On the season he has 86 tackles, 2 pass deflections, 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery. Pretty impressive considering he injured his knee several weeks ago and will need surgery on it in the offseason.