3 most underrated moves of the Patriots' 2024 offseason

In an offseason of up-and-downs, three underrated actins deserve noting
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders / Chris Unger/GettyImages

The 2024 Patriots offseason has been a mixed bag. It's been panned for two glaring and hard-to-fathom omissions. These were not adding a left tackle at all, the most egregious offense, and not using available cap space to sign a WR1 in free agency.

On the plus side, the team has done some positive things. It hasn’t been all bad this offseason.
Some speak for themselves. Others need more attention. One overarching positive stands out above all others and has been recognized. That was Eliot Wolf’s drafting quarterback, Drake Maye with the third overall pick in the draft. Scrap all that foolish skepticism, Wolf hit a home run with that pick.

Yet, several other actions were underrated and deserve accolades. Here, we'll look at three offseason actions positively impacting the Patriots' future. They signal that changes are afoot at Gillette Stadium, and with a few more adaptations, things could look very bright indeed, sooner rather than later.

The Patriots solidified the offensive tackle and guard positions

The Patriots neglected the most important need on the offensive line, left tackle. Yet, it still made solid if not spectacular moves to shore up two positions there. One especially needed bolstering, the offensive tackle position generally. This was largely ignored by Bill Belichick in 2023. It helped cost him his job.

Wolf recognized that depth at tackle generally is a necessity. He took two concrete measures to rectify the deficiency. First, he signed veteran free agent, right tackle, Chukwuma Okorafor. He's no wunderkind, yet, he’s a younger veteran with experience. His being used at left tackle is a mistake, but he’s a bona fide NFL tackle and that’s a positive.

Additionally, Wolf again went to the right tackle well and drafted a good one, Caedan Wallace from Penn State with his third-round pick, a big investment. Wallace, like Okorafor, was also floated as a potential left tackle though he played just a few snaps there in college. Forgetting that silliness, he’s a solid right tackle who adds overall depth to the tackle position. It was a huge offseason need and Wolf has attempted to fill it.

Also on the offensive line, Wolf invested a fourth-round pick on yet another guard, Layden Robinson of Texas A & M. This shows a lack of faith in Belichick's recent investments in the position. Last year’s draftees Sidy Sow, Atonio Mafi, center/guard Jake Andrews, and the injured former first-round pick, Cole Strange clearly don't inspire him with great confidence.

Wolf moved aggressively to ensure that the guard position was well-fortified. While he passed up other opportunities, e.g. left tackle completely, he added more guard talent and depth by drafting Robinson. He felt there was still a need, and he addressed it.

The Patriots signed top young players to extensions before they hit free agency

Where Bill Belichick would usually forego getting his best fourth-year players signed to extensions before they hit free agency, Wolf to his credit has scrapped that policy. He signed several before they got to that point. That's a positive development that shouldn't be underestimated.

Two about to hit free agency were strong safety, Kyle Dugger, and right tackle/guard, Mike Onwenu. Because of Belichick's laxness in not signing them to extensions earlier (preferably after year two) to more team-friendly deals, both cost significantly more than they should have. Regardless, Wolf did the right thing in getting them signed.

Additionally, he re-signed breakout star defensive tackle, Christian Barmore to an extension after his third year. This is an even better move. It shows that Wolf “gets it”. It signals he’s aware of the defective nature of Belichick's former policy and scrapped it.

An even more telling sign may come after this season. If his upward trajectory continues as expected, Wolf should sign defensive tackle, Keion White (touted as a breakout star) to an extension after his second year in the league. This may be unprecedented in Foxborough but it is the right action to take for certain young stars.

Early intervention provides security for the players and likely team-friendly deals for the club. It's a classic Win-Win situation. For your very best young players, it makes all the sense in the world
and should be standard operating procedure. Next offseason, we'll see if it is.

Those are three underrated offseason moves by Eliot Wolf and the Patriots that needed additional attention and kudos. Mistakes have been made, and big ones, mostly of omission. These have been well pointed out. But the team's good moves also need to be lauded, and the three mentioned are underrated ones that deserve to be recognized.

More Patriots coverage: