In just two days, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots walked out of free agency with a new and improved football team.
At the end of last season, Bill Belichick said that the New England Patriots “sold out” over the last five years and won three Super Bowls by doing so. He also said that the Patriots needed to reset their cap number and to do so was by preserving their space into 2021; even if it meant compromising the outcome of the 2020 season.
Fast forward to the 2021 offseason. Belichick has in fact stayed true to his word about resetting the cap. He’s signed five free agents in just the two days since free agency opened. By doing so, the Patriots handed out more than $130 million in guaranteed money to open up free agency. One thing is certain so far. The Patriots are using free agency to sign for need rather than doing so through the NFL draft.
Confirmed #Patriots Signings
– $240M total value contracts
– $135.5M fully guaranteed
– $41M of 2021 cap addedhttps://t.co/8Te9yK3JDw
— Spotrac (@spotrac) March 17, 2021
In only two days, Belichick addressed some of the issues on the offense. He did so by acquiring two of the top available pass-catching tight ends on the market in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. Along with two middle of the pack wide receivers in Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne – who are both hoping to reset their young careers playing in New England.
The Patriots have had little to no production from the tight end position since Rob Gronkowski retired in 2019. He then came out of retirement to join forces with the one and only Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. Followed by last season, which featured a horrendous display of wide receiver talent that ultimately exposed the Patriots offense. They struggled more often than not with moving the ball down the field. They especially struggled with scoring while in the red zone.
The way Belichick has maneuvered himself in free agency this offseason has been nothing short of impressive… but it’s also uncharacteristic of him and the New England Patriots organization. However, after enduring the first unsuccessful season in nearly 20 years last season, we can’t be too surprised by how active the Pats have been during this free agency period.
A majority of the unsuccessful season last year was due to the poor production and execution from the offense. Want to break it down one step further? The quarterback play from a declining Cam Newton was borderline mediocre at best last year. The new skill-position additions are great for the team. But unfortunately, those won’t help propel the Patriots while Newton is under center.
The truth of the matter is, Newton was on the decline before arriving in New England. He’s clearly not the same quarterback that he once was in Carolina when he won MVP and went to a Super Bowl. Newton is great as a runner. But he isn’t the most accurate passer. This is a factor that the Patriots are accustomed to from the position. It truly doesn’t seem like even if Newton had a full offseason to understand and work on the playbook that the results of last season would have been any different.
Although the mobile quarterback, run-pass-option offenses are trending in today’s NFL, a quarterback is still expected to be able to throw the ball, and to do it well. Despite New England being intrigued by transitioning into a new style of offense, Newton’s shoulder won’t help the cause. It doesn’t allow him to truly throw the ball with the proper amount of force and control needed to hit his targets anywhere on the field.
Needless to say, New England will need to find themselves a new quarterback if they want to contend this season. And at this point, with all of this newly acquired talent, it would be best for the Pats to finally pull the trigger on drafting a high-end quarterback this year.
Ideally, find a guy to come in and provide solid quarterback competition from day one of camp with Cam. Maybe that other QB could quite possibly take over the starting job near the middle of the season. All of the fans are reluctant to realize one thing. A lot of these incoming rookie quarterbacks have been successful over the past few years.
Patriots insider Phil Perry released his latest mock draft and has the Pats moving up in the draft to select quarterback Justin Fields. He has the Patriots making a trade with the Lions to move up to the seventh overall pick. Perry believes that the Pats could run the same style of offense with Fields that they would with Newton. With Fields, the Patriots would be getting a younger, faster, and more accurate passer than they currently have with Newton.
Who knows if Fields is even going to be a realistic option for the Pats? But considering all of the talented weapons now on this offense, all they really need is a more consistent and accurate quarterback under center. There’s a chance that Newton will look better surrounded by NFL caliber talent. But the New England Patriots still need a plan for the position heading into the near future.
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Justin Trombino (@Trombino20)