The Patriots have made enormous splashes in free agency before the official start to league year. It marks one year since Tom Brady has broken the hearts of New Englanders and Patriots fans finally have something to smile about.
After ranking dead last in every Tight End receiving category, the Patriots wasted no time in upgrading the position. The team now rosters two of the five highest paid Tight Ends in the NFL. Adding to the their weaponry, the team also signed Kendrick Bourne and deep threat Nelson Agholor, who thrived in his new role in with the Las Vegas Raiders in addition to bringing in Kendrick Bourne.
Making Sense of The Signings
Perhaps the Patriots are structuring their offense similarly to 2010. A year where the team produced zero 1,000 yard receivers, but four pass catchers yielding at least 500 yards. That offense was centered around a two Tight End set featuring Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, complimented by reliable receiving options in Deion Branch and Wes Welker.
Despite spending big throughout the first 48 of the legal tampering period, the Patriots still have money to spend. According to @patscap on twitter, New England currently has $29.1M in salary cap space, not yet accounting for Trent Brown, Justin Bethel, and Carl Davis. The team is roughly sitting at $20-25 million in cap space at the moment, leaving them with a plethora of options. That being said, what should New England do with their remaining cap space?
Re-sign Center David Andrews
Before Patriots fans panic over Andrews testing the free agent market, it’s important to know that Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower also tested their market. David Andrews has been an essential piece to one of the stronger offensive lines in football. The center position is not as easy to replace as others and it is in the teams best interest to retain Andrews.
Sign Another Wide Receiver
As the contract details comes out from Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, it is clear that their contracts are structured similarly to a WR2/WR3. Agholor’s cap hit for 2021 rests at around $7 million with Bourne at around $3 million.
With the incoming Wide Receiver Class in the 2021 draft, the Wide Receiver market is taking a large hit. Number 1 options should include Curtis Samuel and Will Fuller, whereas secondary options could be Breshad Perriman, Sammy Watkins, Josh Reynolds, and Keelan Cole.
Tender Cornerback J.C. Jackson
The deadline to tender Restricted Free Agents ends at 4:00pm today; The Patriots will need to make a decision on their secondary. The team could match any offer, but they will have to decide which round they wish to place the tender on. Costs for each round: 1st round: $4.766 million 2nd round: $3.384M Original round: $2.183M
Consider the Running Back Pool
New England reportedly has interest in Runningbacks Leonard Fournette and Chris Carson. James White is a free agent and Rex Burkhead is coming off of a torn ACL. Sony Michel is also not a lock for the 2021 roster. Potential targets could include: Phillip Lindsay, Duke Johnson, Damien Williams, and Marlon Mack.
Formulate a Plan at Quarterback
Assuming the Patriots will be “uncharacteristically” aggressive at the Quarterback position, the team should look into a trade. Whether that be trading up for a Quarterback in the draft or guys like Deshaun Watson and Jimmy Garoppolo. A trade may seem difficult, but the Patriots are now an elite arm away from the upper echelon of the NFL.