It's important to remember that the NFL offseason is approaching quickly. The draft is right around the corner, and while the Patriots are sure to make some improvements to their roster, there is no denying that it is in a state of disarray and needs significant upgrades.
The Pats will likely have to acquire free agents in addition to their draft picks to give themselves a better chance at winning.
As it currently stands, the Patriots will have roughly $73M in cap space. They can increase this amount by releasing some costly veterans. This year's free agency crop is highlighted by wide receivers and defensive linemen.
The Patriots are expected to show interest in every impactful player available this offseason. The rumors about free agency signings and trade deals will likely be in full force. This is a season of endless possibilities for a team that has been consistently successful for 24 years. The upcoming offseason brings optimism and hope for the future.
Let's look closer at where the Patriots should focus their attention and spend their free agency budget.
How should the Patriots spend their estimated $70 million in cap space?
The Patriots will have considerable money to throw at free agents this year, which is a bonus for new head coach Jerod Mayo. There is one place that I believe they should spend their cash, and it is all on the defensive side of the ball. After all, defensive-minded Mayo is now heading up the new era.
I assume that the Patriots will focus on offensive players during the draft, and the defense needs upgrades.
The Patriots could use another top-tier cornerback, and this free agency period has a few to choose from. I think the Pats go after Jaylon Johnson, who would be a great fit in the new defensive system Mayo will look to implement. Playing opposite Christian Gonzalez, the two would form a formidable duo who could lock down opposing receivers for years to come.
Sticking with the defense, the defensive line needs some upgrades. Here, we see the Pats use the rest of their cap space on defensive linemen. Defensive players might flock to New England with the hiring of Jerod Mayo, which only makes the decision easier to go out and get the talent. Christian Barmore is a stud on the line but could use some fine-tuning.
I believe that any one of Josh Allen, Brian Burns, or Bryce Huff would be an excellent addition to Johnson.
In addition to a prolific pass rusher, the Pats should also use their money to throw the bag at any one of Justin Madubuike (if the Ravens don't franchise tag him), Christian Wilkins, or Leonard Williams.
I think that the Patriots need to establish an identity under Mayo. What better chance to do that than to restructure the defense around the new coach? Mayo brings in some new blood to help rebrand a team that needs to move on from its old identity ASAP. The Patriots will have money to spend this offseason, they should use it to reinforce the defense, while allowing a young offense to hit their stride and gel throughout the season.
The Pats' offense can grow organically by building out the defense with stud veterans. Young defensive players can take a bit longer to develop than offensive players. With a consistent defense, the offense can play in its lane and not be forced into making poor decisions. Be on the lookout for a more in-depth look at the defensive prospects the Patriots should target with their free agency money.