The New England Patriots were always expected to spend big in free agency this offseason. However, virtually nobody anticipated them dishing out over $200 million in contracts and overhauling their already-sturdy offensive line.
Was reloading the OL necessary? Well, considering Joe Thuney was a free agent and poised to ink a lucrative deal on the open market and that the Patriots had one too many starters following the return of Marcus Cannon, who opted out last year, it probably was.
As we know, the Patriots swapped Cannon, whom they traded to the Texans, for Trent Brown, whom they re-acquired via trade from the Raiders.
If everything goes according to plan, Brown will man the right tackle position with Isaiah Wynn handling left tackle duties.
Speaking of the RT position, it’s worth noting that New England probably should have its answer locked down for the long haul. After all, back in 2017, Bill Belichick traded the No. 64 pick to the Panthers in exchange for Kony Ealy and the No. 72 pick.
Care to guess which player Carolina netted with that pick? Taylor Moton, one of the best right tackles in the league who just inked a four-year, $72 million extension.
The Patriots trading the pick that became Taylor Moton to Carolina was one of Bill Belichick’s worst decisions.
While there’s something to be said that Belichick has been able to navigate around that nightmare decision, it’s still a brutal pill to swallow. It becomes even more egregious when you recall that Ealy didn’t even make the team out of training camp that year.
That’s right, folks. The mastermind that is Belichick traded the drafting rights to one of the three or four best right tackles in the NFL for a player who ended up not even appearing in a game for the team. To make matters worse, Ealy was out of the league after the 2017 season.
If you wanted to defend Belichick, you could say the Patriots were desperate for pass rushing reinforcements that campaign. No member of the the defensive line recorded more than 6.5 sacks. New England also had just three players who tallied at least five sacks and three who compiled more than nine QB hits that year.
That’s really the only rebuttal you can make, and it’s not even a strong one. Not only did the Patriots pass on the chance to draft Moton, but they traded down from pick No. 72, which cost them the chance of drafting a handful of studs, including Alvin Kamara and Cooper Kupp, who would’ve solved A LOT of questions at the wide receiver position.
We never take pleasure in ripping Belichick for unforgivable mistakes, but trading the pick that become Moton to the Panthers will go down as one of his worst moves as de facto GM. When you theoretically “lose” a player of that caliber, you have to get something of value in return — and the Patriots got zilch.