This is not breaking news, but the New England Patriots did not exactly have the same level of success in 2023 that Patriots fans have become accustomed to. Because of that, and a couple of previous seasons where the team was trending downward, Bill Belichick lost his job. Thankfully, Jerod Mayo has taken Belichick's place so the culture of the team should remain the same.
That means New England should continue to have a very good defense and to get better, they only need to greatly improve the offense. This is highly doable this offseason, however. The Patriots have a high first-round draft pick and about $70 million in cap room to spend.
In fact, no team is better positioned this offseason to make take their team from a bad one to potentially a playoff team in 2024. While the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills are good, they are not so great that the Patriots are seasons away from catching them. Here are four things New England can do to get good quickly.
Sign Kirk Cousins in free agency and draft a quarterback
I can hear you. Why would the Patriots sign a quarterback when they can simply draft one? Well, why would the Green Bay Packers draft Jordan Love when they still had Aaron Rodgers? Sure, Rodgers was already on the Packers when Green Bay took Love, but Cousins isn't going to be the long-term quarterback, either. New England should sign him to two years, with the first year carrying most of the cap baggage, and then see how things go.
Cousins will be 36 years old in Week 1 of 2024 and coming off an Achilles injury that ended his 2023 season after just eight games. Maybe teams won't want to give him high dollars to entice him to come sign with them, but the great thing is that the Patriots have the third-most cap room in the NFL this offseason so no team that needs a quarterback could likely get into a bidding war with New England anyway.
Cousins would definitely make the Patriots much better and potentially playoff-bound next year as long as the team finds a receiver or three and the defense continues to do well. But signing Cousins also means whoever New England takes in the first round, if they do choose a quarterback, won't be forced into live action right away. Signing Cousins makes the team better next year and well beyond, whether he is on the team or not in three years.