It is incredibly early in the unofficial offseason, and perhaps it's even earlier to discuss next year's Super Bowl with this year's Championship game taking place this Sunday. However, it's an exciting time to be a fan of the New England Patriots as they undergo significant changes from their front office staff to the coaches on the sideline and their talented roster.
Most of the biggest moves have already taken place, with Bill Belichick succeeded by Jerod Mayo and the new head coach's staff nearing completion. Major roster moves will begin next month with the start of free agency, and a month after that, the next batch of future Patriots will be selected in the 2024 NFL Draft.
There is a lot of room for the team to make strides in the right direction to become a competitive team again, with nearly $70 million in cap to spend and excellent positioning in the draft. The hope, of course, is to get back to winning games and eventually return to the Super Bowl, which half of the team looked closer to than the other.
But there are some critical moves Mayo and Co. will need to make this offseason to put them on the fast track to get there sooner rather than later.
3 moves the Patriots must make to reach next year's Super Bowl
1. Sign top talent in free agency, especially for the offense
One of the most vocalized desires from fans over the last several years has been asking the Patriots to spend more money in free agency. Throughout Belichick's tenure, he earned a reputation for being a penny pincher, mainly because his strategy worked, and they won six Super Bowls because of it.
But now that Tom Brady is no longer on the team to hide the offense's deficiencies, that type of strategy in free agency is no longer viable, especially heading into a season with a possible rookie quarterback or a hopefully reformed Mac Jones.
They are expected to have the third most money to spend in free agency, which prompted new head coach Mayo to share their plan to spend. Hopefully, that will be the case because this roster sure does need it.
But before signing new talent, they'll have to decide the fates of their 26 free agents and who they want to bring back for another season. Teams around the league will chase many productive names on that list, so they'll have to act fast before they're whisked away.
Then, decisions about who they want to pursue the heaviest among the rest of the league's free agents will need to be made. This year's free agent class is unlike any in recent memory, with top talent like Mike Evans, Derrick Henry, and Chris Jones available.
Being successful in signing some of these players would be a great way to head into the draft, narrowing down their priorities while also ensuring their team is good now and down the line.