Power Ranking Top 5 Patriots Offseason Additions So Far

Power Ranking the Patriots offseason additions is tough when they add so many people. The Pats had a historic offseason in 2021. You remember, right? The ‘Belichick Spending Spree’ that sent the NFL world into a state of shock? If you don’t believe me that is was truly historic, take a look.

Bill Belichick took Robert Kraft’s check book and spent $159.6 million (a league record) in guaranteed money on free agents. That’s not only a ton of money, but a ton of risk as well. What Belichick did was attempt to essentially revamp his entire team (including drafting the new franchise QB) in one single offseason. If it works, he continues his genius. If it fails however, debates of “Did Brady actually make Belichick” will run wild. Now that we are just about halfway through the season (Roger Goodell robbed us of the perfect symmetry by adding another game), I think it’s time to revisit this offseason and power rank the top 5 Patriots offseason additions so far.

I do have a caveat though. This won’t be limited solely to free agent signings. I think that’d be cutting out a couple really good players if I did that. So these will be the Top 5 Patriots Offseason Additions (by any means) of the 2021 offseason.

#5: Hunter Henry:

The Patriots went out on Day 1 of Free Agency and signed the consensus #2 tight end, Jonnu Smith, almost immediately. At that point, while a good portion of the fanbase wanted Hunter Henry, the consensus #1 available TE, Pats fans were happy. And then almost immediately afterwards, Belichick shocked the world and signed Henry as well. The top 2 players available at their position were now on the Patriots. Unprecedented. While Smith is starting to find his footing in the offense, it’s clear Henry has been a tad more productive.

With that being said, one could say that Henry has been both a great addition while also coming across as somewhat underwhelming. I’m not one to say that, but the argument can be made. Hunter signed a 3 year, $37.4 million contract with the Pats and has 25 catches for 297 yards and 4 TD’s. He’s become a security blanket of sorts of Mac Jones as of late and just broke his streak of four consecutive games with a TD. This Patriots offense took a few games to find it’s footing and Henry felt those side effects. But now that things seem to be rolling, it’s clear the former Chargers tight end will play a crucial role moving forward.

#4: Kendrick Bourne:

Belichick made a splash by bringing in not one, but two good WR’s this offseason in Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. And while many thought the former would produce more, it’s Bourne who has carved out a slightly better spot in this offense. The Pats shelled out a 3 yr/$15 mil contract to the former 49er and while it was initially seen as an overpay (which was absurd) he’s outplayed what his contract is. For perspective, the following 6 WR’s were also signed this offseason:

  • Kenny Golladay: $18 mil/year
  • Allen Robinson: $17.8 mil/year
  • Corey Davis: $12.5 mil/year
  • Curtis Samuel: $11.5 mil/year
  • Randall Cobb: $9 mil/year
  • Marvin Jones: $6.25 mil/year

Not only is Kendrick Bourne less expensive than any of those guys, he’s outperformed each and every one of them. So what was seen as an overpay by disgruntled, inpatient fans whose minds have been poisoned by local talk shows was actually a tremendous deal for a really good player. Tallying 26 catches for 388 yards with 2 TD’s, he’s been the most productive offensive piece added to this offense not named Mac Jones. And not only does Bourne have 2 rushes for 28 yards, he also dropped a sweet TD pass to Agholor on a trick play earlier in the year.

#3: Mac Jones:

“Woah Mike, you have Mac Jones as the third best addition this offseason!?” Correct, I do. And that’s not an indictment on his play, it’s more of a commentary of how good the two guys in front of him have been. Mac Jones has been better than advertised this season. He was touted as the most ‘league ready’ QB coming out of the draft and he’s shown that and then some. The pocket awareness, read progressions and poise that Mac has shown is second to none in his rookie class…all while eating steak, eggs and spaghetti before every game…

I don’t even want to solely compare Mac to rookie’s anymore. That’s doing him a disservice at this point. Here’s where Mac stacks up to the rest of his contemporaries:

  • Completion %: 68.1 (8th)
  • Completions: 192 (3rd)
  • Yards: 1997 (8th)
  • TD’s: 9 (20th among active starters)
  • QBR: 53 (18th)
  • Passer Rating:  90.1 (21st)
  • Yards Per Game: 249.6 (15th)
  • On Target Throw %:  (T-11th w/ Burrow)
  • Average Time to Throw: 2.6 seconds (8th shortest)
  • #10 Rated QB Per Pro Football Focus

I’m not saying Mac’s been perfect because he hasn’t. He’s still a rookie and that inexperience rears its ugly head here and there. But week after week, Jones makes you forget this is only his first year in the NFL. It’s insane how he’s progressed. Early in the year Mac was making iffy decisions with the ball, holding on too long and not throwing downfield. He has corrected each of those issues to the point where when he makes a mistake, you’re shocked. It takes most teams years, decades even to find their next franchise QB. And it seems like it took the Patriots and Bill Belichick one year to get theirs. Belichick deserves endless kudos for that.

#2: Christian Barmore:

The Nick Saban, Bill Belichick connection was strong with this pick. Barmore has been disruptive since the word go this year and has shown no signs of slowing down. Bill Belichick has always been good at finding defensive linemen, and the former Alabama star continues that tradition.

Christian Barmore has been an absolute problem for every offensive line he’s faced this year. There were some blasphemous questions about his drive/focus when he was drafted, but he’s shed every negative stigma the media tried to thrust on him. This is just another example of Belichick simply scouting a player better than every other team. The fact that this potential future stud fell to the Patriots in the second round is lunacy.

#1: Matthew Judon:

Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. Matthew (he prefers his full name when it’s written in print) Judon has been an absolute stud so far for the Patriots defense. He’s been as great a free agent signing as almost anyone has been for the Pats in 20+ years. It seems like every drive he’s creating pressure or disrupting a play. And it’s not like he’s sneaking up on anyone with those red sleeves either. Offenses know he’s coming and there’s really nothing they can do to stop him.

Judon is currently 4th in the league in sacks with 8 on the year. He’s only 1.5 away from his personal best in that category as well. The former Raven has done much more for this team than pure statistics though. He’s drawn so much attention that it allows guys like Wise, Barmore, Guy and other to get pressure as well. His addition is a major reason why this team is one of the best in the league when rushing only 4 guys. Judon has been as much of a ‘hit’ as we’ve seen in a long, long time and seeing how this defense was gashed left and right last season, it’s a welcome sight.

In Conclusion:

Bill Belichick has done the unthinkable. He retooled and rewired his entire team in one calendar year through the draft and free agency and it kills many of you to admit that. While it’s the norm for teams to remain in NFL purgatory when they lose what the Patriots lost in the 2019 offseason, that controversy did nothing but fuel the fire in Belichick. If you think this team is anything but on the rise and due to be in the mix for years to come, you’re fooling yourself and letting your hatred/fear cloud your judgement.

The Patriots are, as the kids say, back.

P.S. This is a fun tweet to look back on. You all can go shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joes or whatever other fancy/expensive store you want I suppose. I think Belichick is fine getting 2 for 1’s and store brand products that are just as good as the name brand ones. LFG.

(Featured Photo Credit www.nesn.com)

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Mike Sullivan (@msully5433 on Twitter)

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