Patriots: Robby Anderson reveals Bill Belichick’s free agent pitch
By Adam Weinrib
For years, the common narrative in New England was about how Bill Belichick and the Patriots never got Tom Brady any help — and he won, repeatedly, in spite of it.
Ironically, one full year after Brady’s departure, Belichick and the front office went particularly nuts in free agency, splurging for reinforcements on both sides of the ball (Matt Judon, meet two tight ends and Nelson Agholor). So far, so … not great. Some pieces have worked, some haven’t, and overall, most of the Patriots’ success has been based on Mac Jones’ growth and the running game.
Would you believe it if we told you that, around the time Brady departed, Belichick was also scheming?
He took the free agency plunge in part because of TB12’s Tampa Super Bowl (you’d think), but it seems he also nearly outfitted Cam Newton with quite an impressive deep threat in Robby Anderson, the former New York Jets wide receiver who went to Carolina on a two-year, $20 million deal that has now ballooned into another two-year extension that can escalate to $29 million through 2023.
On the verge of battling with his old division rivals this weekend, Anderson revealed Coach Belichick’s sales pitch.
It was a pretty good one, leaving you to believe the money on the table wasn’t anywhere near that $20 million in Carolina. After all, we were still one year away from the spending spree fantasy becoming a reactionary reality to Brady’s ring.
The New England Patriots tried to woo Robby Anderson in 2020.
Sounds pretty effective, right? “Come join our side so I can quit turning you into a non-factor and start using your powers for good”?
Of course, Anderson probably liked the sound of that, considering he’s yet to defeat the Patriots in his entire football life — entering Sunday’s game, he’s 0-8 against New England all time, with all eight of those losses coming as a feckless member of the Jets forced to match wits with a defensive mastermind.
Since coming to Carolina, Anderson’s been open a lot more often … though he’s also somehow gotten saddled with his ex-Jets QB Sam Darnold, a fate he certainly couldn’t have seen coming when he signed an extension in his comfortable new home.
Sunday, though, it’ll likely be PJ Walker under center, which will hopefully lead to fewer depressing collisions like this:
Does Anderson have any hope of getting open this time, surrounded by a still-fairly-depressing wideout corps that echoes his Jets days?
He’d better hope JC Jackson’s illness extends through Sunday, leading to some short-handed shuffling and Jalen Mills exposure. Otherwise, he could be in for a long day of regretting not taking the Patriot Way Discount last offseason.