Grading every new signing Patriots made during free agency

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Grading every new signing Patriots made during free agency

LB Sione Takitaki: (2 years, $6.5 million)

The defense was not going to be the priority this offseason since it has continued to be the far better side of the team, but after losing Mack Wilson in free agency, there was a clear need to add depth to the linebacker room.

On top of that, special teams has become uncharacteristically bad over the last few years, so adding a player like Sione Takitaki, who adds depth to both units, feels like a win/win.

With his unique experience of playing every linebacker role on the defense, coupled with his solid run defense and special teams ability, it's inevitable that Takitaki will become an integral part of the team moving forward. The Patriots love to take advantage of a versatile player, and because they need so much help in many areas, the linebacker is instantly more valuable.

Our grade: A

TE Austin Hooper (1 year, $4.25 million)

Both Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki were slated to test the free agent market again this year, leaving the Patriots with no tight ends on the roster for the 2024 season. Gesicki ended up signing a one-year contract with the Bengals, and fortunately, Henry decided to extend his stay in Foxboro by signing a three-year deal.

With Gesicki heading to the AFC North, the need for a tight end partner for Henry was apparent, and the player they decided to sign was probably one of the least surprising of the entire first wave of free agency.

Alex Van Pelt has made great impressions on players he has coached over the years because Austin Hooper's addition was another connection to a Browns player for the offensive coordinator.

The 29-year-old has bounced around through a handful of teams throughout his eight-year career and put together two good seasons in Cleveland with Van Pelt calling the plays. His last two seasons with the Falcons in 2018 and 2019 were the best of his career, but Henry will remain as the starter, and Hooper will be a more than solid TE2.

He will add more help to the offensive line, as he is a better blocker than Gesicki, which allows Henry to be used more within the offensive game plan.

Our grade: C