Patriots captain Matthew Slater wants to return in '20

Tom Brady isn't the only longtime New England Patriots captain and multi-time All-Pro to enter the 2020 offseason with an unclear future.

Don't forget about eight-time Pro Bowler and special teams specialist Matthew Slater, who has been with the organization since it selected him in the fifth round of the 2008 draft.

Slater, 34, is facing down free agency for the second time in three cycles. Last time he hit the market, Slater inked a two-year pact to return to New England, his fifth contract with the club.

Will he sign a sixth this spring to return to Foxborough? Slater told The Athletic's Jeff Howe on Wednesday that he wants to continue to play in 2020, but he doesn't know if that will be in New England.

"I definitely feel like my family and I thought about it a lot," Slater told Howe. "I still love to play and want to continue to play. I guess as of now, I want to keep playing. We just have to see how things go from here. There are a lot of things up in the air that I don't know, but I'm going to approach it as though I'm preparing to play next year. We'll kind of go from there. That's where we're at."

New England's roster figures to undergo a sea change this offseason, as numerous team leaders and key contributors face free agency. In addition to Brady, whose contract voids at the start of the league year, and Slater, Devin McCourty, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Nate Ebner and Joe Thuney are all slated to become unrestricted free agents on March 18.

It's unclear which of their in-house free agents the Patriots will target most passionately. One would think that Slater, the veteran who breaks down the team in the locker room and who consistently makes the Pro Bowl, would be one of New England's less expendable players.

Slater wants to be a Patriot in 2020, but according to the special teams maven, it's not up to him.

"I think I've expressed several times my desire to play the entirety of my career here," Slater told Howe. "When you play 12 years in one location, it's hard for you to imagine playing anywhere else. I've certainly expressed that publicly. I've expressed that privately. But again, ultimately, sometimes that decision isn't always in your hands. We'll see how things go moving forward."