Patriots: 3 AFC East rivals NE can steal in free agency

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: John Brown #15 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: John Brown #15 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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The New England Patriots will have to navigate a difficult cap situation across the board in 2021, but that shouldn’t stop them using their oodles of cap space to potentially form a winner after a disappointing 7-9 season last year.

While Bill Belichick’s squad is in possession of the No. 15 pick, which is normally much higher than New England ends up drafting, this team has plenty of holes.

One selection that high up is not going to totally fix the Patriots’ issues across the totality of this roster, as much as fans might want it to.

New England has had success with luring away players from division rivals in the past, as plenty of Jets, Dolphins, and Bills have decided to trade in their old colors for a chance to play alongside Belichick and a New England team that was perpetually in the playoffs.

Belichick might need to start schmoozing once again, as he could convince any one of these 3 studs to swap out their old team in favor of a Patriots squad looking to reassert themselves as top dog in the AFC.

These 3 AFC East foes could help the New England Patriots.

Brian Poole, Jets, Patriots
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – DECEMBER 22: Brian Poole #34 of the New York Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

No. 3: Brian Poole, CB, New York Jets

Heaven knows the Jets haven’t had much to cheer about in the last few years, but Poole has become one of the most underrated defensive backs in the league in Jets green. After leaving the Atlanta Falcons, Poole recorded 103 tackles, one sack, and three interceptions in Gregg Williams’ defense.

The Jets are bringing back Marcus Maye, but Poole might not be retained, as Joe Douglas and new head coach Robert Saleh look to go on a spending spree this offseason. If Poole slips through New York’s grasp, Belichick, who has built one of the league’s finest defensive back rooms, could swoop him up.

How can Brian Poole help the Patriots?

Health could be an obstacle for Poole, as he played just nine games last year and missed nine total games during his last two seasons with the Jets. If the Patriots are willing to gamble on someone that isn’t always on the field, their tough defensive back room will get even stronger this offseason.

Belichick has been known to deploy five or six defensive backs with regularity, even relying on a formation that featured four down linemen, just one linebacker, and six DBs. Alongside a perfect blend of quality veterans like Stephon Gilmore and Devin McCourty, in addition to youngsters like JC Jackson and Kyle Dugger, Poole would be another sticky defender for Belichick to play with.