With two losing seasons in the three post-Tom Brady years, New England Patriots fans don’t know what to do with themselves. During the Brady era, the Patriots never had a losing season and had 18 seasons of 10 or more wins.
While that type of success won’t be replicated anytime soon, steps can still be taken to get back to being a legitimate playoff contender. As someone who doesn’t have an allegiance to any NFL team, here is where I would start.
3 Things the New England Patriots Need to do This Offseason
If I had written this article at the end of the 2022-2023 regular season, hiring a legitimate offensive coordinator would have been at the top of the list. The Patriots recently crossed that off, however, with the return of Bill O’Brien.
Here are some other key things the Pats need to do before the 2023 season kicks off.
The player Moves to Make
If I’m the New England Patriots, I’m trying to re-sign wide receiver Jakobi Meyers at a reasonable price. Meyers has led the team in receiving three straight years and has been by far the most dependable option. While he’s not going to make or break the offense, Mac Jones needs as many weapons around him as possible. Bringing Meyers back also provides flexibility in the draft.
If safety Jabrill Peppers can be had on the cheap, he should be a top target for the Pats between his versatility and the secondary being a pretty big question mark in general.
Of the players still under contract to move on from, tight end Jonnu Smith stands out. Yes, Hunter Henry’s contract is more team-friendly to do so, but Smith just hasn’t worked out and Henry has at least shown up in spurts. Fans will point to Smith’s dead cap number, but if he’s designated a post-June 1 cut, his dead cap can be split between 2023 and 2024. Even better, if Bill Belichick is willing to take a late day three draft pick for him, Smith’s dead cap hit drops by more than $6 million and New England would save almost $11 million.
Stay Disciplined in Free Agency
Remember the spending spree the Patriots’ front office went on in 2021 and how exciting it was? Yeah, about that.
At the time of this writing, New England has the sixth-most cap space heading into the 2023 offseason which sounds great. The issue? The 2023 free agent class is pretty lackluster and there’s nobody who stands out as a “must-have” for the Pats.
Offensive tackle Orlando Brown would certainly be at the top of the list given the troubles this year, but will Belichick shell out that type of money?
Wide receiver DJ Chark could make sense for a team that is sorely lacking speed and is coming off a season where he flashed his big-play ability but was limited due to injury.
Someone like Taven Bryan on the defensive line could be another chance for Belichick to turn around someone’s career and get a compensation pick out of it when the time comes.
Draft Like the Baltimore Ravens
There was a period of time where it felt like the Patriots could do no wrong in the draft and everything they touched turned to gold. In recent years, however, it’s been a mixed bag to put it nicely. As an outsider, it seems like New England is still riding that high of “can’t miss” years, taking swings on guys that make everyone else scratch their heads.
Holding the 14th overall pick in the first round this year and five selections in the first four rounds, the Pats need to take a page out of the Ravens playbook and just let the draft come to them. Don’t get cute. Don’t reach. Just take the best player available and move on.
Especially in the first round, New England is perfectly positioned to capitalize on areas of need and where the players left on the board could line up. Players like wide receiver Jordan Addison, safety Brian Branch, cornerbacks Cam Smith and Devon Witherspoon, and offensive tackle Broderick Jones could all be in play at 14.
Patriots 2024 Super Bowl Odds
This article is being written as we await to see which team will hoist the Lombardi Trophy following Super Bowl 57. Sportsbooks can’t resist taking money from overzealous fans and Nostradamus wannabes, so odds are already available for next year’s big game.
Currently, the New England Patriots’ 2024 Super Bowl odds are at +5000 according to DraftKings Sportsbook. This puts them in the middle of the road, ahead of only 10 other teams in terms of betting odds.Massachusetts is the latest state to launch legalized sports betting. Betting in-person at retail sportsbooks will become available first with mobile apps to follow in March. This means Patriots fans will soon be able to take advantage of promo offers like Caesars Massachusetts bonus code and several other online options.