Patriots’ Off-Season Issues? Don’t Be Discouraged

April 2, 2022
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Patriots’ Off-Season Comparatively

Every off-season, you’re bound to see some massive trades or signings occur. However, the past several weeks have been much more difficult to keep up with than usual. There have been blockbuster trades like; Russell Wilson to the Broncos and Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins. And even some surprising signings, such as Von Miller to the Bills or Khalil Mack to the Chargers. The NFL world has had an exciting couple of weeks as teams have seemingly adapted to the LA Rams, “F them picks” mentality.

Leading up to the start of the NFL’s free agency period, expectations are sky-high with hopes of some drama. To say teams have exceeded those expectations this year would be an incredible understatement.

Unfortunately for Patriots fans, much of that excitement has been on the outside looking in.

It’s Not Time To Panic Just Yet

With the concerns of the team appearing to not be participating in all the action, worry has grown across Patriots Nation. Over the past month, they’ve watched as the majority of the AFC has drastically improved their rosters by making high stake trades and signings. But it’s easy to forget the Patriots are only one year removed from outspending every other team in the league during free agency. By spending a whopping $163 million, it was quite the memorable off-season in New England. Bill Belichick snagging some top-tier free agents and spending big money to bring them in, too was all everyone was talking about.

Let’s also not forget New England inserted a rookie quarterback under center for the first time in decades and made the playoffs. Given the Patriots’ history, it may not be something most fans are happy with, understandably so. However, the Patriots were a lot more competitive last season than people give them credit for. Realistically they are not many pieces away from a deep playoff run.

The 2021 Patriots’ Off-Season Signings Are Still Good

Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images

The unprecedented spending spree by the Patriots last year is not something to be omitted. Just last year some of the top names available signed with New England. Those are the type of signings that were not only good at the time but will be vastly beneficial for the team for years to come.

The 2021 season could be described in a few different ways depending on perspective. Overall it was a much improved year accompanied by many ups and downs. An overlooked fact not discussed in recent weeks has been that many of those ups came from newly signed players.

Let’s take a brief walk down memory lane for a second. Looking back on the 2021 season, let’s remember:

  • Hunter Henry played his first full season as a pro and scored the most touchdowns in a single season of his career (9 total).
  • Matthew Judon set Patriots records left and right, including totaling his most sacks on the year (12.5). He also earned another Pro Bowl spot.
  • Kendrick Bourne had his best statistical season in his first year with New England and has solidified himself as the possible WR1 in 2022.
  • Jalen Mills held his own with J.C. Jackson as an outside corner, despite it being his first full season as a true CB

One of the best parts about this list? These guys can only get better. Going into year two, they’ll have adapted to New England and their roles within the system. These are some core members of the team and they are all under contract till 2024

The Patriots’ Off-Season in 2022 Has Been Solid, Too

The players that have been signed/re-signed by the Patriots so far in 2022 may not be the flashiest, and maybe not necessarily the guys you were hoping would be brought in. That doesn’t negate their potential importance to the team’s success.

The return of players such as James White or Trent Brown is pivotal for this team’s offensive progress. With Mac Jones under center, maintaining some consistency with those around him is key for his development and growth.

On the defensive side of the ball, the re-signing of veteran Devin McCourty has more value than what some may believe. He is a key to not only the success of the defense, but his leadership is unmatched. As the defense gets younger, it’s important to maintain a vital player like this; to mentor and help develop the future of this team.

Spending More Doesn’t Always Mean Spending Better

You know how the saying goes, “Bill Belichick is playing chess while the rest of the league is playing checkers.” And that seems to be true in this instance as well. It’s fair to feel frustrated or disappointed in what has been done, or not done. But it’s also important to really look at the contracts that have been given to several players signed recently.

As soon as teams are able to speak with free agents, they generally are willing to dish out huge contracts worth a ton of money. Many teams are overpaying by trying to beat out any and all other teams interested in the player. We know this is not something Belichick is known for doing. If anything, it’s usually the opposite.

It may not be what you want, but it is the Belichick way we’ve grown to learn. For the most part, it has worked out fairly well over the last two decades. And always remember, things could be worse. You could be a New York Jets fan.

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