Patriots' lackluster performance on legal tampering day disappoints fans

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots
Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

Oh, NFL free agency. It truly is a period of speculation, imagination, and hope. Fans race to their screens to read the latest news on where their favorite players are going. They scroll through their feeds to find their rivals' moves and postulate among friends why it was awful and won't work out.

Online couch GMs come out in full effect, seemingly deciding what moves their respective teams need to make to be competitive. It's a time of chaos, peace, and uncertainty. What is certain, however, is that free agents will get paid. Teams will throw money at players looking to improve their rosters for a better shot at the Lombardi in the upcoming season.

Teams with cap space to spend are rumored to be interested in every big name available, and rightfully so. It usually takes a lot of money to sway free agents to come to a new town - to lace up the cleats for another franchise. It's better to have money ready to throw than to be unprepared. The NFL can change by the minute.

Armed with over $80M in cash to spend in free agency, the New England Patriots were assumed to be a prominent figure in free agent dealings. Monday, March 11, marked the first day of the legal tampering period of free agency. The legal tampering period essentially means that teams have about two days to negotiate deals with free agents before they become actual free agents.

It's no secret that the Patriots need a lot of help this offseason. Multiple position groups lack the players necessary to be competitive. The suggested narrative was that the Patriots would take a hard look in the mirror this offseason and start to get right. After day one of the NFL legal tampering period, there are more questions than answers.

As of the writing of this article, the Patriots have re-signed tight end Hunter Henry, offensive tackle Michael Onwenu, and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. In terms of bringing in outside talent, the Pats have agreed to bring back quarterback Jacoby Brissett on a one-year deal, and they have also agreed to a deal with running back Antonio Gibson. So far, that's it.

These are the only moves the team has made thus far. For a team with this much of a talent deficit on the field, you have to wonder what is going on here. Is it that no one wants to join the Patriots? Is it that they aren't negotiating with the available free agents? What's going on?

According to Eliot Wolf, “In terms of physical skills, we need to weaponize the offense. We need to be faster and more explosive on defense. Height, weight, speed, playmaking ability – there will definitely be an emphasis on those things.” Well Mr. Wolf, there is A LOT left to be desired after day one of the legal tampering period. It's as if we were promised change, but the words aren't being justified by the actions of the organization.

For real, where are the moves? When are Patriots fans going to receive exciting news? Is Antonio Gibson the best we can do? This can't be it, people! Not all was lost on day one of the tampering period - some good news came when the team announced the release of wide receiver DeVante Parker this afternoon. I view this as addition by subtraction. But the Patriots can only release so many players until they will have to sign someone.

We don't need to go nuclear here, but for a fanbase as consistent and passionate as the Patriots' following, we deserve more than a running back on day one of free agency. Sometimes, it takes a bit for some of the bigger-name free agents to sign, but the Patriots have the luxury of not needing to wait. Their cap situation is fantastic - splurge! Go bring in some talent.

To say that day one of the legal tampering period was underwhelming would be an understatement and an insult to things that are overtly underwhelming. The Patriots have been operating in the shadows for too long. They have been out of the playoff picture for too long. Time has passed this team by, and it no longer resembles the resilient and formidable teams of the past. A few new faces brought in via free agency would have been a welcomed addition and a sight for sore eyes.

For now, we wait. We wait for the organization to make the proper moves to get this team back into contention, regardless of how frustrating it is.

Read more from Musket Fire: