FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Tom Brady #12 talks with Brian Hoyer #2, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots during the first half against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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There’s Reason to Believe This Could Be the End of the Patriots

New England’s roster is fine for now, but 2019 is another matter entirely.

At 8-3, the Patriots are guaranteed to win the AFC East and are in the mix for one of the top two playoff spots in the conference as well as a first-round bye.

That means, for this year at least, things in New England, despite rumblings of discontent, look stable.

Next year could be another matter entirely.

As New England’s roster is currently constituted, the team has five core veterans- Tom Brady, Dont’a Hightower, Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty and Stephon Gilmore – under contract for a combined  $77.65 million for next season. By most estimates, that would be more than 40 percent of the 2019 cap.

While it’s possible the team could keep those players – all five will be 29 or older next season – on the roster next season, it seems unlikely given the cap hit.

That means that at least one of those core pieces, if not more than one, could be gone in 2019.

A retraction like that wouldn’t automatically mean the end for the Patriorts, but losing a core piece like Hightower, Gronkowski or McCourty would mean an end to this particular chapter of the New England Patriots’ dynasty.

“For now, it can all wait. You’ve still got the team that rolled out there on Sunday against the Jets, a prideful group that’s impeccably coached and has all the fight that you’d expect out of a grizzled champion,” according to Sports Illustrated. “You saw that, in all its glory, toward the end of that game, with the last few swings it took to knock out their three-win opponents. They played like Belichick would want them to, with a focus on today that gave no regard to tomorrow. That’s good too—because if you look at the totality of their situation, tomorrow isn’t bringing many promises with it.”

Read the full story at Sports Illustrated