Here are three free agents who the Patriots should overspend to sign next offseason.
Though the New England Patriots are fresh off a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, we wouldn’t blame fans who are already looking forward to the offseason. After all, a first-round exit seems like the best-case scenario, and Bill Belichick is projected to have the fourth-most salary cap space in the NFL after bypassing upgrades last offseason.
The 68-year-old GM-in-essence has uncharacteristically been waxing poetic about how he preserved cap space in 2020 to be better positioned to cope with the financial implications of the ongoing pandemic. As diabolical as that sounds, it really just encapsulates his brilliance and amplifies why he’s done nothing but win since taking over the reins in New England two decades ago.
Assuming the salary cap is lowered, the Patriots would be one of the few organizations positioned to sign multiple marquee free agents. Given the laundry list of flaws on this current roster, that is incredible news for the fan base, which desperately wants to return to its winning ways in 2021.
It goes without saying that the most glaring deficiencies lie on the defensive line, and at the wide receiver and tight end positions. With that in mind, let’s highlight some impending free agents who the Patriots should overpay for to ensure they land their signature.
3. Hunter Henry
Chargers star Hunter Henry would solve the Patriots’ tight end woes.
Much to the dismay of fans, the Patriots have failed to address their tight end issue since Rob Gronkowski retired after the 2018 season. That stubbornness looks even worse on Belichick when you consider that the oft-injured Pro Bowler hinted at calling it quits numerous times in the latter stages of his career.
We’ll probably never know why the de facto GM refused to prepare for Gronk’s impending departure beforehand — his subsequent draft picks have been awful — but he’ll fortunately be positioned to cure all of his miscues this offseason when Chargers tight end Hunter Henry will hit free agency.
The Chargers have a plethora of playmakers in place for rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, so the front office might be fine with letting Henry, a second-round pick back in 2016, test the open market. Los Angeles would clearly be better off spending resources on their offensive line and defense, and that could leave the door open for the Patriots to swoop in.
Henry’s numbers don’t exactly jump off the screen, but that’s largely due to the Chargers’ aforementioned stacked offense. With that being said, however, they’re still respectable. In three seasons — he missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL — the Arkansas product has averaged 45.3 receptions for 569.6 yards and 5.6 touchdowns. We’ll take that all day, every day.
Nothing more needs to be said, folks. The Patriots shouldn’t think twice about pouncing on Henry if LA lets him walk after the season.