Patriots: Cheap free agents who could still help New England
By Mike Luciano
The New England Patriots can’t be accused of cheaping out ahead of this season, as they chose to rectify their disappointing 7-9 year in 2020 by bringing in premium players like Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry at tight end, Matt Judon at defensive end, and Trent Brown at right tackle.
Bill Belichick has built a dynasty on the back of veterans looking for a championship ring coming in to fill a very specific role.
The Patriots’ roster is far from finalized, and that could lead to a few more acquisitions before training camp.
Perhaps another cornerback after the loss of Jason McCourty to the rival Miami Dolphins? How about a running back that can add another dimension to the rushing attack? A wide receiver with enough speed to test defenses down the field?
With nearly $15 million in the bank that they could give away to a few veterans this year, the Patriots might be thinking about making one or two more signings that both fill a need and give them a touch more security as they navigate a treacherous window.
So who could help? If Bill Belichick wants to add multiple guys while maintaining enough cap space to make in-season moves, these guys might work.
These 3 cheaper free agents could help the Patriots.
3. CB Brian Poole
While Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh have been doing an exceptional job at rebuilding the New York Jets in the post-Adam Gase era, one of their more curious decisions was letting Poole hit free agency, especially considering that cornerback is one of the weaker areas on this depth chart.
Poole has been one of the more robust slot cornerbacks with the Jets and Atlanta Falcons. While his value is a bit affected by way of his frame limiting him to the interior, Poole has shown the stickiness in man coverage as well as aggressiveness as a tackler needed to win over someone like Belichick.
Brian Poole could get some valuable playing time with the Patriots.
Jalen Mills might have a slot corner spot to his name, but one of the reasons he even got his contract was that Belichick valued the versatility he brings to the table. Poole could get some reps inside, booting Mills to the outside as New England’s feared secondary gets even more lethal.
Poole being discarded by a Jets team that ranked among the worst pass defenses in the league and a coach in Jeff Ulbrich that saw him for years in Atlanta isn’t the best endorsement of his value. Even with that, what better place to prove the haters wrong than New England?