Patriots: Free Agency Days 2 & 3 Recap

The Patriots have been patient, but are far from done making moves this offseason.

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Wednesday, March 13th at 4:00PM ET marked the official start of the NFL new year, which essentially means all deals made earlier in the week are now official in the eyes of the league. The New England Patriots started off free agency by dropping some major pieces on both sides of the ball while not bringing any players in. News broke on Monday that Trey Flowers and Trent Brown left the Patriots for mega contracts with the Lions and Raiders, respectively.

On day two of the league’s legal tampering period, Adam Schefter of ESPN broke the news that Cordarrelle Patterson is headed to the Chicago Bears on a two-year deal worth 10 million dollars.

This was not that surprising, although it is a bit concerning because the only receiver from last season currently under contract is Julian Edelman. New England seemed like a good fit for Patterson because he became much more than a return man. He developed more as a receiver and was even used as the team’s three-down running back when Sony Michel was banged up. Another receiver who is currently testing the free agency market is Phillip Dorsett. Phillip Dorsett struggled to find a consistent role in New England’s offense but did make some big time plays this season. He finished the season with 32 receptions for 290 yards and three touchdowns. I believe if he resigns with New England, then he will see his workload increase.

One receiver who is a free agent that many believe could end up in New England this offseason is Golden Tate. Tate would be a great addition to the Patriots’ receiving core and is a true professional that I think would have no problem buying into the “Patriot Way”.

Also on day two,  Ian Rapoport reported that cornerback Eric Rowe is headed to Miami on a one-year deal worth 3.5 million.

Rowe saw less playing time as Belichick and Flores gave more defensive responsibilities to rookie JC Jackson as the season progressed. It is not a huge loss, but Rowe was with New England for the three consecutive Super Bowl trips and was a guy that younger DB’s could look up to in the locker room.

At the end of day two, New England was the only team in the league who had not signed or resigned a single player. They finally ended that when they resigned cornerback Jason McCourty on day three, as reported by Rapoport.

This is a huge re-signing for New England. Of course, McCourty is a good zone coverage corner, but him and Stephon Gilmore are the only veteran corners for this team and they are very important in helping develop guys like Keion Crossen and Duke Dawson who didn’t see a lot of playing time last year. Along with Jason McCourty, Ian Rapoport also broke the news that linebacker John Simon was re-signing with the team. Simon’s numbers don’t jump off the page, but he is a very good fit in New England. He is an athletic, edge player who is improving week to week.

One signing they made that didn’t come from the 2018 Patriots’ roster is Brandon Bolden, who was on the 2017 Patriots’ roster. Bolden spent last season in Miami and is headed back to New England on a two-year deal. Bolden was mainly a special teams player, and the Patriots struggled last year on special teams, especially on kick coverage. Bolden along with Matthew Slater will bring some stability to the Patriots’ special teamers and hopefully we will see improvements next year.

Some other news that might make some New England fans feel good is that the team is tentatively planning for Gronk to return next year. Ian Rapoport stated that “sources close to Gronk believe he wants to play”. Gronk is a huge part in keeping this offense balanced, New England does not currently have the receivers to pick up the slack if Gronk does decide to retire.

There have also been reports that the Patriots have shown interest in tight end Jared Cook. Cook is coming off a career high year in yards, receptions and touchdowns with the Oakland Raiders last season and could be huge for New England’s offense.

New England is not an organization that will empty their pockets for a few top tier players. They focus more on getting good, cheap, quality players that other teams overlook simply because they’re not superstars. This year is no different so Pats’ fans remain calm. I suspect that New England is not done making moves this offseason.


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