Patriots: 3 sneaky moves Pats should make in free agency

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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It’s almost time for the Patriots offseason. Game on.

The New England Patriots are gearing up for their most important offseason in several years, and something tells us they’re going to be one of the biggest spenders of the annual sweepstakes.

Not only will they be equipped with close to $60 million in cap space, but you have to think head coach Bill Belichick is as motivated as ever, as the media’s collective viewpoint asserts Tom Brady was more essential to the Pats dynasty after he won a ring in his first year away from the franchise.

As much as fans would like the Patriots to commit top dollar for every position of need, doing so would really limit how much overall spending they’ll be able to do, though.

Taking that into account, they’d probably be better served making two or three marquee signings and filling in the rest of their holes with low-profile moves.

After all, if there’s any coach in the league who’s capable of getting the most out of players who aren’t household names, it’s Belichick. With that in mind, let’s highlight three sneaky acquisitions the Patriots can make in this year’s absolutely loaded free agent class.

These three moves could help the Patriots get back into the playoffs in 2021.

Packers TE Robert Tonyan (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

3. Sign Robert Tonyan Jr.

The Patriots have maddeningly refused to replace Rob Gronkowski over the last two seasons, and their offense has suffered the consequences. And no, we aren’t giving Belichick credit for drafting two tight ends in the third round of the 2020 draft, because they proved to be an absolute waste of valuable picks.

It would be wrong to write off Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi, but their rookie seasons indicated they have a ways to go before they can be trusted as three-down starters. This year’s free agency class is nothing to brag about, but if the Patriots were smart, they would steer clear of some of the high-profile names and pursue Packers breakout star Robert Tonyan Jr. with all their might.

Despite being one of the most consistent tight ends in the league this past season, Tonyan was still overlooked from a recognition standpoint with the likes of Travis Kelce and Darren Waller enjoying borderline historic seasons for their respective teams, but he wasn’t far behind in the production department.

After logging a 12% snap share over his first two seasons, Tonyan managed to win the starting job out of camp and ultimately emerged as a dependable security blanket for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, registering 52 receptions for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns, which tied for the league lead at the tight end position. To shed more light on their next-level connection, Tonyan logged an 88.1% catch rate (!) and Rodgers recorded a 147.1 passer rating throwing his direction.

Do we really have to say anything else? The Patriots shouldn’t second-guess themselves when it comes to signing the former undrafted talent out of Indiana State.

And, uh, maybe it’ll lead Rodgers here eventually, too? A Pats fan can dream…