The Patriots along with their future Hall of Fame coach, Bill Belichick, took no time to turn from a near bottom of the league team to now a very competitive playoff team. With the loss of Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, many people have been speculating that coach Belichick is nothing without his star quarterback. Bill tried to back his claim up by signing Cam Newton. Going into the 2020 season, no one knew what the Patriots were going to look like or how they were going to play as a team. We quickly found out the answer as the Patriots went 7-9 and missed the playoffs by more than 6 games. However going into the 2021 offseason, the Patriots and Bill had a new plan which made all the critics look silly.
The New England Patriots, after a struggling season, decided that enough was enough. Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick aren’t used to losing having not had a losing record since 2000 in which they went 5-11. The new and improved Patriots signed not one new player, not even two new players, but 13 new players. Along with the 8 players returning from last year, such as Cam Newton, superstars such as Hunter Henry, Kyle Van Noy, and many others, the Patriots have put themselves right back into the running to be a playoff team. You may find yourself asking, how in the world did they get all of this money? Before free agency, the Patriots were $53 Million under the cap. Meaning that they still have $53 million to work with for this year, even after resigning all of their players. For reference, before the offseason had started, the Eagles, who are the lowest in the league, are -$7 million in cap space. Many teams attempted to make their name known in free agency however Bill and the Patriots did the most. The team started off by signing offensive tackle Trent Brown, who is a dominant pass rusher. Shortly after, the Patriots signed two more tight ends in Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, both elite at their position and can outwork any opposing player. Along with the TE’s they did not stop there on offense. They then signed Nelson Agholor from the Raiders, a wide receiver who has shown potential but is yet to break out, however the Patriots are very high on him and expect him to have a breakout year. Now that Cam Newton has one full year under Bill Belichick, many believe that this team is destined for greatness and the offense will make up for last year. I can expect that Cam will have a breakout year now that he has acquired many more weapons this offseason and they will only get better as the season goes on. On the other side of the football, Bill and the Patriots signed six defensive players, most notable being LB Matt Judon, the two time Pro-Bowler with the Las Vegas Raiders, and two-time Super Bowl Champion, Kyle Van Noy of the Miami Dolphins. The defense they constructed during the off season gave them a very promising future and a very young core, along with Stefon Gilmore and the many other off season signings, people are very excited to see what this defense can do. Many fans and critics are comparing this defense to the Patriots 2007 defense in which they were led by future Hall of Famer, Mike Vrabel. In the 2007 season, The Patriots were widely considered to be the greatest team in NFL history, as they went 16-0 but lost in the Super Bowl to The Giants. Nevertheless, for this defense to be alluded to a team of that caliber, has to mean something.
The exciting future of this team leads me to believe that we cannot sleep on the Patriots for another year, Bill and the front off are doing everything to get back to their old, super bowl form, however this time, without Tom Brady. I believe the Patriots have made a strong case for themselves and are looking to be super bowl contenders within the next few years, I don’t doubt them for one second.
Luke Tenney 22’