Patriots Off-Season: Offensive Priorities

Coming off a frustrating 2020 campaign, it is a fair assumption that the Patriots will be one of the more aggressive teams this off-season. Currently ranking third in the NFL in cap space with $68.9 million available, the Patriots have the cap to make some noise in what is expected to be an eventful off-season. 


It’s hard to believe any free-agent quarterback would want to sign with the Patriots unless they land a big name receiving target. I mean… can you blame them? The thought of throwing to 34-year-old Julian Edelman coming off another knee surgery, Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd, and N’Keal Harry can’t possibly excite a quarterback. Just look at Matt Stafford his ONLY request was the Lions don’t trade him to the Patriots. Sure, maybe Matt Patricia going back to the Patriots staff may have influenced this decision, but still not a good look.

The Patriots’ best bet at the quarterback position would be to draft one and then use some of their cap space to bring in some offensive weapons. Currently holding the 15th pick in the 2021 NFL draft, it is being reported the Pats are aggressively scouting QBs in the draft. Realistically, the top quarterbacks that could have a chance to fall to the Patriots are Justin Fields (Ohio State), Zach Wilson (BYU), Mac Jones (Alabama), and Trey Lance (North Dakota). There are still many moves that can affect who will still be on the board when the Patriots make their selection, with teams still testing the availability of young QBs like Deshaun Watson and Jimmy Garoppolo. The Deshaun Watson situation especially will be something Patriots fans should keep a tab on as there will a domino effect depending on where he lands. 

Wide Receiver

Again, the most important priority for the Patriots this season. Lucky for them, the list of free-agent wide receivers is loaded with talent. 

  • Chris Godwin
  • Allen Robinson
  • Kenny Golladay
  • Will Fuller V
  • Juju Smith-Schuster
  • Corey Davis
  • Marvin Jones
  • Curtis Samuel
  • Nelson Agholor
  • Sammy Watkins
  • TY Hilton
  • AJ Green

And that’s just to name a few. The NFL is a pass-first league, and to be efficient in the passing game you need playmakers. It is crucial the Patriots land at least one of these guys to make things a lot easier for whoever is under center.

Tight End

Without Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots’ tight end play has been abysmal, to say the least. In the past two seasons, the Patriots have received little to no production from their tight ends. Last year the Patriots drafted both Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene in the third round. The two combined for 5 receptions, 55 yards, and 1 touchdown last season. The most notable free-agent tight end this off-season is Hunter Henry. Unfortunately, Henry has prioritized good quarterback play in his decision, so he most likely has no interest in New England, but there are some other names to watch.

  • Jared Cook
  • Gerald Everett
  • Trey Burton
  • Richard Rodgers
  • Jonnu Smith
  • Tyler Eifert
  • Kyle Rudolph

If the Patriots can bring one of these guys in on a cheap contract, it would be a great move for them. Anyone that can help boost the production from the tight end position would be a great addition. 

Running Back

One of the few bright spots from the Patriots’ 2020 season was the emergence of running back Damien Harris. The 2019 third-round pick from Alabama carried the load in the Patriots’ backfield rushing for a team-high 691 yards and 2 touchdowns in just 10 games. The Patriots head into the off-season with both James White and Rex Burkhead as free-agents. If the Patriots can retain one of those two and stick with Sony Michel and Damien Harris, I don’t think the Patriots have to highly pursue a running back. 

Offensive Line

Arguably the best position group for the Patriots other than the kickers and punters in 2020 was their offensive line. According to Pro Football Focus, the Patriots had the 4th best offensive line in the NFL last season. One player that really impressed on the Patriots offensive line was Michael Onwenu. Onwenu was selected in the 6th round of the 2020 NFL draft as a guard but was forced into the starting tackle role where he had an impressive season. Heading into the off-season both David Andrews and Joe Thuney will be free agents for the Patriots. Thuney could be hard for the Patriots to retain as he has the chance to become one of the NFL’s highest-paid guards this off-season. The Patriots used their franchise tag on Thuney last season and he could be a tag candidate again this year. The loss of Thuney would be a huge blow for the Patriots’ offensive line, but they would still be a talented group.

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