Patriots: Second tier of the free-agent market will be totally useless for Bill Belichick

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 20: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 20: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Even when the New England Patriots have had cap space heading into free agency in the past, Bill Belichick has been very selective about giving out long-term contracts. Only a select few defensive stars, like Stephon Gilmore, have been lucky enough to land one.

Given how their mighty defense took a bit of a step back in a season that saw New England miss the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, Belichick could easily be tempted to improve his team by using some of their precious cap space to woo top free agents from all over the league.

Unfortunately, Belichick needs to take a much more practical approach this offseason. New England’s offense wavered between unwatchable dreck and slightly watchable dreck last season, and finding a new signal-caller in addition to anyone with a pulse that can play wide receiver will be imperative.

There are other needs, like at tight end and along the defensive line. And it’s safe to say the team cannot afford any misses or get stuck with the leftovers.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots need to spend money on top free agency options … not the leftovers.

If Cam Newton is not retained, a decision that looks more likely by the day given how inconsistent he was, the Patriots might need to look at the free agency market in the hope of finding an upgrade. Wide receiver also stands out as an area New England needs to upgrade.

The likes of Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry are simply not No. 1 targets in an efficient NFL offense. Belichick needs to get his ducks in a row on that side of the field before he squanders New England’s golden financial opportunity to improve themselves on offense by adding another corner.

With the man himself on the sideline and enough solid defensive coaching around him, that unit is always going to be above average. Rather than use draft picks at the skill positions, which has been Belichick’s weakness, why not tempt offensive players to come to New England by backing up the Brinks truck?

Making incremental improvements isn’t a bad decision, but it can’t come at the expense of fixing the core issues that have completely ruined the Patriots. There’s a big drop-off from the top free agents to the next tier of guys, and the Pats simply cannot find themselves bargain shopping when they need impact starters to turn the ship around.

Find the guys you want, prepare them sizable offers, and get to work early. There should be no tip-toeing or financial tinkering this offseason.

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