Three players the Patriots could add this offseason
As the NFL playoffs progress onward, the New England Patriots remain in offseason mode after a brutal wild card loss to the Bills. Some Patriots fans are already looking ahead to what the Patriots need to be better in 2022. Mike Sullivan outlined three needs the Patriots could benefit from this offseason. So this made me think of the potential players that the Patriots could take a look at it. Will they all happen? More than likely not! But it’s always fun to speculate right? So let’s do it!
Patriots Offseason Target #1: Leighton Vander Esch, Linebacker
The Patriots need to get younger at linebacker during the offseason. There’s no doubt about that. Dont’a Hightower is an unrestricted free agent and could very well be gone. So one name that intrigues me is Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. Vander Esch will be entering his age 26 season in 2022. He was a Pro-Bowler in his rookie season in 2018 and a guy that makes a ton of tackles. If Hightower heads out of town, that’s a 17 million dollar guarantee and almost nine million dollar APY (Average Per Year) gone. You could get Vander Esch for about six million dollars less on both counts. This could be a move that nobody really expects and if money frees up, why not pursue it?
#2: Kyle Fuller, Cornerback
The Patriots are in a tough spot with J.C. Jackson. They could potentially franchise tag him or even surprise a lot of us and sign him to a long-term deal. But assuming the Patriots actually let Jackson walk in free agency, Kyle Fuller from the Denver Broncos could be a potential help at corner. Fuller has been a name Pats fans have flown around before. This is also a guy who is a two time Pro-Bowl corner and a 2018 First-Team All-Pro selection too. You can get Fuller for probably a lot less than you’d have to pay Jackson. So if the Patriots want a good quality cornerback, Kyle Fuller is a name they should be at least keeping an eye on this offseason.
#3 JuJu Smith Schuster, Wide Receiver
It’s no secret the Patriots could benefit from a number one wide receiver. One name that people seem to forget about is Steelers receiver JuJu Smith Schuster. Smith Schuster was injured for a majority of the 2021 season, which is why I think this is a great chance for the Patriots to sign him once the offseason officially kicks off. Keep in mind, this guy had nine touchdown receptions in 2020 and was a Pro-Bowl receiver in 2018. Plus, he wouldn’t be of the same financial burden that getting a guy like Chris Godwin or Davante Adams would be in free agency. I feel like JuJu would benefit from a fresh start, especially with the uncertainty at quarterback in Pittsburgh.
In Conclusion Regarding the Patriots Offseason Needs
The Patriots could use another good free agency this offseason. Sure, it won’t be like the splurge they had in the 2021 offseason. But the draft can only do so much for this team. Especially if trades aren’t made! Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what the Patriots come up with during the 2022 offseason.
-Al Nahigian (@BigAl2793 on Twitter)
Featured Image Credit: patriots.com
Information: overthecap.com and pro-football-reference.com
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