Three mistakes the Patriots can still make this offseason

Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft
Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The time has passed for sports writers to bombard the masses with their list of winners and losers of the 2023 NFL offseason. The grades have been assigned as if we've already moved on to the next phase of the football news cycle. The first preseason game is scheduled for August 10th, which means the offseason hasn't ended yet.

There's still over a month for every team to get a better grade or a worse grade. In the case of the New England Patriots, there are still three mistakes the team could make before this offseason that could cost them dearly.

The first mistake would be overpaying for a free agent. The Patriots have been called the favorites to land Deandre Hopkins, Dalvin Cook, or possibly both. It would not be a mistake to sign these players, but it would be a colossal mistake to sign them for more than they are worth. In the minds of fans, the name value is something they would pay a premium for, but fortunately, Bill Belichick doesn't care about that.

The bottom line is performance. More specifically, future performance. It's bad form to pay a player for what he did in the past. Players should be paid according to how they will perform while under contract. As outlined in a previous article, both players are over the hill for their positions and have shown a decline over the past few seasons.

If you can lock up both players to one-year deals that are cap friendly, this would be a great move. If they are paid a premium or given three-year deals on the other hand, then the Patriots will have made a huge mistake. It may not be felt right away, but it will hit them hard later on.

The second mistake that can still be made this offseason is at the opposite end of the spectrum. That would be missing out on signing veteran players for bargain prices. There are still some very attractive free agents without a team, and this late into the offseason, they can be had for a fraction of what you may think.

Former number one overall pick Jadeveon Clowney is still looking for a team. Though he has never quite hit the ceiling that many expected, he is still one of the best run-stopping linemen in the game. The Patriots are loaded with pass rushers and have struggled against the run. Clowney will sign for cheap somewhere, and missing out on him could be costly for the Patriots.

Kenny Golladay is a 6'4 receiver with great hands. He didn't live up to the huge contract he signed with the Giants, but that is a plus for signing him now. He has already been paid and he's not old enough to go ring chasing. He's looking for a team where he will get significant snaps, and prove he can still play. There may be no better place than the talent-deprived Patriots wide receiver room for him to do just that.

The third and final mistake the Patriots could make this offseason is choosing Mac Jones as their starting quarterback. I'm not saying it would be a mistake to go with him into the season, but it would be an enormous mistake to make that decision now.

In a very small sample size last season he was outplayed by rookie Bailey Zappe. He took a huge step backward in his development, and while Matt Patricia shoulders some of the blame, so does Mac.

The Patriots need to do what they teased us with, which is to have a true quarterback competition. Give both players the same number of snaps with the first team, and let's see who the better player is. If it's Mac Jones, then good for him. I'll cheer him on all season. I'm just begging the team not to make that decision now. I wouldn't even make that decision by August 10th. The Patriots need to take their time and get it right, or we won't have much to cheer for when December rolls around.