It’s officially the offseason in the NFL. On March 17th, free agency begins. By now, the New England Patriots should have an idea of who they will target. The Patriots are coming off of a 7-9 season, their first without seven time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady. This season proved that it wasn’t the Patriot Way, it was the Brady Way. However, that is in the past. Now it’s time for New England to gear up for next year. There are many questions surrounding the organization and this is the offseason for New England to answer them, otherwise they are in for another dreadful season.
It’s time for Bill Belichick to spend some money. Seriously. Last season he was vocal about not having any money which lead to the very cheap Cam Newton signing. Now, Bill has money to spend. The Patriots are projected to have $62,778,756 in cap space, which is most likely going to be the fourth most in the NFL. New England has many positions to address but which one is the most important in free agency? Obviously the quarterback. However, there is a problem. For free agent quarterbacks, New England is probably the least sexiest place to come to at the moment. Why? The Patriots also lack in wide receivers as well. So with that being said, who should the sign?
It’s starting to look like Dak’s time in Dallas is coming to an end. If Dallas doesn’t but the franchise tag on him, this is a no brainer. Go get Dak. Dak Prescott is by far the best quarterback that will be on the market. Prescott’s season was cut short due to a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle. He’ll need to be brought back up to speed, but once he is, look out. Dak was an early contender for MVP before the injury. Before the injury, Prescott had nine touchdowns, four interceptions and threw for 1856 yards. This was through almost five games.
Here’s a wildcard that nobody seems to be talking about, Mitch Trubisky. Yes, New England should take a look at him. Trubisky isn’t the greatest quarterback, but he’s solid. He’s been with a weak Chicago Bears team since he entered the NFL. He brought the Bears to an 11-5 record, an NFC North division title, and brought the Bears to the playoffs twice. In all honesty, if the double doink didn’t happen, there is a chance that the Bears could have made a run with Trubisky. Bringing him over to New England will work. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels won’t run the ball every single play and the New England offense won’t be as predictable.
Bring back Cam?
It could be possible that New England brings back Cam Newton. Patriots fans won’t like the sound of that, but it isn’t the worst decision. Newton already knows the system. Plus, this time around he will have receivers to throw the ball to. That was the problem before, Newton had nobody to throw to. Julian Edelman was hurt, N’Keal Harry is a bust, and Jakobi Meyers isn’t built to be a number one receiver. Yes Meyers and Newton had good chemistry, but Newton needs an experienced veteran who he can trust. If Newton comes back, expect to see New England go after receivers aggresively.
It’s no secret that New England needs a true number one receiver. Allen Robinson is by far the hottest free agent out of all the wide receivers. New England should go out and go get him. In fact, he should be the first free agent they make a move for. Just about every team will be going after Robinson so New England shouldn’t wait around. Last year, Robinson had 102 receptions for 1250 yards and six touchdowns. For his career, he is one yard shy of reaching 6000 receiving yards. It’s simple, go get Robinson to improve the receiving core.
If Robinson goes elsewhere, sign Corey Davis. Davis is the forgotten man in Tennessee and it is expected of him to not stay in Tennessee. Davis would fit in nicely in New England. Is he a true number one receiver? No. But, a change of scenery could project his career and he could turn into one. The Patriots need help at receiver, Davis is the kind of help New England needs. Davis is yet to break 1000 yards in a season, bring him to New England and he can accomplish that with a new quarterback.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is another hot target in free agency. Yes he has character issues. But, whenever a player with character issues comes to New England, the issue is dropped. Randy Moss had character issues before coming to New England and those issues were gone until the end of his time with the Patriots. When Antonio Brown was traded, JuJu became the number one receiver in Pittsburgh. He didn’t truly shine because he’s young. JuJu can be the number one receiver for New England and can succeed even more with the Patriots compared to the Steelers.
This will be the only tight end New England goes after. If they don’t land Hunter Henry, expect them to draft a tight end. Bill Belichick loves Hunter Henry. At the end of the Patriots and Chargers game this year, Belichick was seen having a very long embrace with Hunter Henry, which is very unusual for Bill. That’s a sign right there that Belichick wants Hunter Henry. Belichick knows that there is a dire need for tight end, and Henry could be the answer Belichick is looking for.
The Patriots have the 15th pick in the draft. Kyle Pitts, the tight end out of Florida should be a top target for New England. If New England can’t get Hunter Henry, they should trade up for Pitts. Pitts will be a week one starter for New England. Last season, Kyle Pitts was the most dominant tight end in college football. New England hasn’t been the same at tight end since Rob Gronkowski retired. Pitts can be the player to fills in the void for New England at tight end.
The only trade they should make
For the past two years, Deshaun Watson has torched the Patriots. If you can’t beat him, get him. Having Watson in New England would instantly make the Patriots a contender once again assuming they go after wide receivers in free agency. Who would they have to trade to get him? They can trade Jarrett Stidham, N’Keal Harry, first round draft picks for the next two years, second round draft picks for the next two years as well. The Patriots give up a lot to get a lot.
Yes, New England should be focused on offense. Why? Their defense is set for the most part. In the later rounds of the draft New England should focus on defense. Even later in free agency, New England should focus on defense. Yes, JJ Watt is currently a free agent, but Watt has made is clear that he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuilding team. New England is currently rebuilding so New England shouldn’t waste their time going after a player that won’t want to come here. It would be nice yes, but sadly, it’s unrealistic.
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-Matt Burnett (@mattthew_jordan on Twitter)