Report: Three key Patriots opt-out players plan to return for 2021 season

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Isaiah Houde
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The New England Patriots are already off to a solid start to the offseason.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, three of the team’s opt-out players from 2020 are planning to return for the 2021 season. New England will get back linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung and tackle Marcus Cannon. All three players will provide veteran leadership and a huge increase of talent within their positional groups.

Hightower is 30-years-old and should have a few good years ahead of him, while Chung (33) and Cannon (32) will at least have something left in the tank for this season. As it currently stands, Hightower has a cap hit of $12.4 million, Cannon $9.6 million and Chung $5.1.

Devin McCourty, 33, eluded to the idea that these opt-out players would return.

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This will be enormous in keeping the culture in place and passing it on to the younger generation, but the Patriots still have a huge hole to fill at quarterback. They have the fourth-most cap space in the league and that flexibility along with the return of these players could help ease the process of finding their signal-caller.