The New England Patriots are reportedly interested in extending defensive tackle Christian Barmore after a strong 2023 season. The budding defensive star, entering his fourth season in the league, has struggled with injuries but earned 8.5 sacks last year.

After a full but largely uneventful rookie season in 2021, the second-round pick out of Alabama went to the injured reserve in 2022 with a knee injury. This setback dulled his momentum for a time, but the 24-year-old came back stronger last season, earning praise from former coach Bill Belichick and others.

“Every day, it’s just grinding so hard in the weight room,” Barmore said last year. “I’m in there all day every day. I’m doing way more training than I ever did to keep my body in shape for a longer season.”

With one year remaining on his four-year rookie contract, ESPN and other sources are reporting that the Patriots plan to lock down the defenseman well ahead of time. Under new head coach Jerod Mayo, it will be important for the team to maintain its young talent, particularly on defense, while it builds to improve several shortcomings.

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Roughly parallel to Barmore’s NFL journey thus far, cornerback Christian Gonzalez will return for his second season for the Patriots in 2024, further bolstering the offense. The young player proved to be a rising star last season before an injury derailed his promising start.

While New England merely has to nurture its budding defense, an entire rebuild is necessary on offense.

The Patriots also have serious depth issues in their receiving core and on the offensive line. Acquisitions like Barmore are important, but the team has a long way to go to regain relevance in a crowded AFC East division.

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