Grading every new signing Patriots made during free agency

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The Patriots were not as active in free agency as many in New England were hoping, especially with so many roster holes needing to be addressed and the new regime being equipped with some of the most cap space in the league to fix the team.

They clearly prioritized re-signing their most vital in-house free agents, which was a great decision given which players were brought back. But it seemed they negated the need to sign new talent to move the team onto a winning path.

Because Bill Belichick was ousted before the official start of the offseason, how Jerod Mayo and Co. would navigate free agency was expected to be different, even more so when the new head coach exclaimed his desire to "burn some cash."

Unfortunately, those words have come back to haunt him, and he has attempted to redefine what he meant since their actions didn't match that sentiment. It's not gone over well, as their free agency decisions have been less than exciting, but some of their additions, although mostly on short-term contracts, could be secretly good for the 2024 season.

Because so many new names have been added to the team and so much disappointment surrounds who they are, let's award letter grades to each new signing.

Grading every new signing Patriots made during free agency

OT Chukwuma Okorafor: (1 year, $4 million)

Outside of improving the receiving corps, one of the priorities for the offense this offseason was adding depth to the offensive line. With Trent Brown and Mike Onwenu heading to free agency, the team was left with no starting tackles on either side, which didn't bode well for an already struggling offensive line.

Before knowing the fates of either lineman, the Patriots signed former Steeler Chukwuma Okorafor to a one-year contract, presumably to play right tackle. At first, it seemed like an assurance of a potential failure to bring back Onwenu. But fortunately, they were able to do that and have a solid rotational piece in Okorafor who will be useful next season.

He was drafted by the Steelers in 2018 and brings plenty of experience to the developing offense. By his third season, he became their starting right tackle. His career was on a good trajectory until last season, when Pittsburgh drafted one of the top tackles of the 2023 class, presumably as his replacement.

Okorafor was benched for the rookie more than halfway through the season, and the dysfunction caused by their later-fired offensive coordinator is likely the root cause of the veteran's departure.

Although he could probably suffice as a starter for the Patriots as well, Onwenu's return guarantees he will be his backup and probably a better one than who they've had there previously.

Our grade: C