When the New England Patriots decided to break kayfabe and spent tons of money on players like Hunter Henry and Matthew Judon, many thought that Bill Belichick was adapting to the new NFL. Instead, Belichick has reverted to his old ways after just one postseason appearance.
Rather than overpay to keep starters like Ted Karras or Pro Bowl cornerback JC Jackson, New England allowed the pair of them to leave for the Bengals and Chargers respectively. Even an elite special teamer like Gunner Olszewski was allowed to test the free agent market.
The few signings that they have made so far haven’t given Mac Jones a ton of help. Ty Montgomery is a backup and special teamer that won’t carry the ball much this season, and Terrance Mitchell is far from a viable Jackson replacement. This lack of aggression has turned some of Bill’s former players against him.
In an interview with the Boston Herald, former Patriots offensive lineman and ESPN analyst Damien Woody was very critical of the way Belichick has gone about his business in the offseason. Woody laments the fact that New England has stood still while the AFC gets much better.
Damien Woody called out the Patriots and Bill Belichick in free agency.
“I would never doubt the genius of Bill [Belichick], but at the same time, ‘Dude, do you see what’s going on in the rest of the AFC?’ It is no joke in this conference,’’ Woody said. “What are you doing? People are leaving you guys in the dust. What’s going on?”
As a result of the Patriots letting their big names go, the already deep AFC just got even nastier. Contenders like the Chiefs, Bills, and Bengals have continued to get stronger while fringe playoff teams like the Browns and Chargers have made some major upgrades in areas of need.
Even some also-rans in the division like the Jets and Dolphins have made some serious improvements as a result of the Patriots being asleep at the switch. You can’t just let Jackson go, expect to find a much cheaper replacement, and deprive Jones of more support around him all at the same time. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Mack Wilson is not going to cut it as a marquee addition.
The Patriots need to make some sort of seismic move in short order. The argument of them trying to keep the team together falls at the first hurdle when you realize that they have seen major pieces of the club’s infrastructure leave for other destinations. Woody is completely vindicated in taking Belichick to task.