WHAT THE PATRIOTS NEED TO DO THIS OFF-SEASON
Article written by Dylan Devine (1/3/21)
The New England Patriots had a disappointing 2020-21 season to say the least. Going into week 17 they are finishing the season at third place in the AFC East with a record of 6-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time in what feels like forever. There was a lot that went wrong for them this season. Cam Newton, their defense not living up to expectations, a weak group of receivers, and players opting out due to covid-19. There is a lot that New England has to do if they want to really improve the team and get back to winning.
Part ways with Cam Newton
I was very excited when the Patriots signed Cam Newton. A former MVP who was one of the best QB’s in the league just a few years ago. Things were looking good pretty much up until week three. His arm just isn’t there anymore. He is constantly overthrowing or underthrowing his passes and seems to rarely be dead on target with his receivers. Going into week 17 he has thrown ten interceptions, only has five passing TD’s and is sitting at 29th in QBR. It came out today from Adam Schefter that New England and Newton are likely to part ways this off-season and I truly think that is best for both parties.
Sign Dak Prescott
In a perfect world, the Patriots would somehow sign Dak Prescott. That is my top wish for this off-season although it is a bit of a unique idea. With the cap space New England is projected to have this off-season they may be able to make it work. The Patriots have always been a team not willing to spend crazy money on players, but maybe they can finally change that and pay Prescott. He is a QB that would fit in very well under Belichick and McDaniels. Before his injury this season he was projected to have the best season of his career. If he can rehab that injury and come back to how he was playing this season, New England could have the new face of their franchise in him.
Sign a veteran QB and draft Mac Jones
This is probably the more realistic route that the Patriots will take. Sign a cheap veteran QB like Ryan Fitzpatrick and draft top prospect QB out of Alabama, Mac Jones. Let whatever veteran QB they bring in be the starter next season while developing Jones. Jones is a perfect fit for New England and I see a lot of experts projecting him to be drafted by the Patriots.
Bring in some new offensive weapons
I’m not going to go too in depth on this one as it is an obvious need for New England. Some good options for them to bring in are TE Hunter Henry, WR Chris Godwin, WR Corey Davis, or WR Kenny Golladay,
Re-sign J.C Jackson
J.C Jackson had a fantastic 2020-21 season. Going into the last game of the season, he is currently second in the league for most interceptions with eight. He will be a free agent this offseason and with Stephon Gilmore’s future in New England somewhat up in the air, re-signing Jackson should be a priority.
What free agents should they re-sign?
• Joe Thuney, guard – RE-SIGN
• J.C. Jackson, cornerback – RE-SIGN
• Cam Newton, quarterback – LET WALK
• James White, running back – RE-SIGN
• Deatrich Wise Jr., defensive end – LET WALK
• Brian Hoyer, quarterback – LET WLK
• Jermaine Eluemunor, tackle/guard – LET WALK
• Damiere Byrd, wide receiver – RE-SIGN
• Jason McCourty, defensive back – LET WALK
• David Andrews, center – RE-SIGN
• Lawrence Guy, defensive tackle – LET WALK
• Adam Butler, defensive tackle – RE-SIGN
Improve the D-line
New England needs to prioritize their run defense. They ranked 27th in rushing yards allowed per game. With the future of Adam Butler and Lawrence Guy on the Pats being questionable, they need to bring in a solid DT. Dalvin Tomlinson could be that guy. It would cost New England a good amount of money, but bringing in a stud like him could really be helpful. I also would love to see them draft a guy like Daviyon Nixon out of Iowa.