The New England Patriots had their typical slow start to free agency as big name players spent the first few days of the official 2016 NFL season wading through ridiculous offers. Meanwhile, in New England the first few days netted just special teams player Ramon Humber and backup defensive end Frank Kearse.
At that point the big news was the contract extension given to quarterback Tom Brady. The only other notable moves were in freeing up roster spots as March began with veteran tight end Scott Chandler and Brandon LaFell being released. It took a while for the Patriots to get some momentum this offseason, but once the personnel moves started they came fast and furious.
After a whirlwind of activity, the big moves are probably over until the NFL Draft. However, with the addition of wide receiver Chris Hogan, trading defensive end Chandler Jones to Arizona for guard Jonathan Cooper (and a 2016 second round draft pick), trading for tight end Martellus Bennett, signing running back Donald Brown, signing defensive end Chris Long, and finally adding linebacker Shea McClellin via free agency the Patriots have made some significant moves for 2016.
Much like the way Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio approach free agency, looking at the moves made on a transaction-by-transaction approach misses the big picture. That said, let’s look at the free agent moves made in the context of roster-building on each side of the ball.