The Patriots are reportedly prepared to push the envelope in terms of upgrading their roster this offseason.
The New England Patriots will have a ton of questions to address this offseason as far as their roster is concerned. Their blatant deficiencies were on full display throughout the regular season and were really the biggest reason why the team labored through its worst campaign in 20 years.
This inauspicious situation is a huge indictment on the front office, but we’re willing to give them a pass given the sustained success the Patriots enjoyed prior to 2020 and the minimal cap space they had at their disposal to actually make marquee upgrades. That, of course, doesn’t excuse them from missing on countless draft picks in recent years, but that’s a topic for another day.
Taking all of that into account, the Patriots will need to push the envelope this offseason if they want to return to contender status, especially considering that Buffalo and Miami are fresh off promising campaigns and figure to only get better with more experience.
Well, according to Tom Curran of NBC Sports, de facto GM Bill Belichick is preparing to be “extremely and uncharacteristically aggressive” once the new league year gets underway.
It’s well-documented that the Patriots’ biggest needs are a quarterback, a clearcut No. 1 wide receiver (same goes for tight end), a defensive end and potentially another linebacker if Dont’a Hightower shocks the world and decides to retire after opting out of 2020.
The Patriots are projected to have the fourth-most cap space ($58.66 million) next season, so they should be able to fill most of those holes with that surplus of cash. According to Curran, however, they aren’t expected to make a big splash on a quarterback. Here’s what he had to say about the situation.
"“To me, I think they will be more of a mid-tier team that will try its luck in the draft, so meaning mid-tier free agent — a (Marcus) Mariota, a (Jacoby) Brissett, whoever they deem worth chasing and securing and then to play it in the draft,” said Curran. “That’s the hardest thing about this — do you force it in the first round with a Mac Jones or a Kyle Trask, who certainly don’t seem to me to be first-round quarterbacks? Or do you say, ‘we’re going to take that good linebacker and see if Trask or Jones if we take them in the second round are players we can develop, or somebody else?'”"
Not breaking the bank to sign a quarterback would certainly provide the Patriots with the necessary flexibility to address their other needs, but can they really afford to settle for average to above-average play at the position again? The answer is no, especially if they sign another veteran, so this could very well be a smokescreen to throw other teams off of the scent.
Either way, fans in New England should be able to sleep comfortably these next few weeks knowing that Belichick is fully aware that major moves need to be made this offseason if the Pats have any hope of competing for a playoff berth in 2021.