How good are the new Patriots?
By: Adam Martin
The New England Patriots have been on a massive $137.5m spending spree over this offseason. It feels like a surprising move given how the Patriots have been in the past. However, when the league zigs the Patriots like to zag and it will be interesting to see if this works out. Here we look at the Patriots free agency signings and rank them from best to worst.
Best – David Andrews
David Andrews is one of the best centers in the league and this deal is very team friendly. The 28 year old has been in the NFL for six years now and has shown how good he can be. He is only costing $19m for four years when other players as good as him are going for double the money at least. With him there the Patriots will have one of best o-lines in the game and that will be massive for Cam Newton and the run game.
Jonnu Smith is potentially a top quality tight end who will improve now he is in the Patriots system. The Patriots are known for how they use their tight ends and after two years struggling to find one they have got a good one here. He has cost a lot at $50m for four years but he could be worth it if he settles. He is a big redzone threat and showed that with the Titans last year only receiving 448 yards but eight touchdowns. This is a good move.
Kyle Van Noy
Kyle Van Noy had a good time with the Patriots before his move to Miami last year. It didn’t work out in Miami but the Patriots know exactly what they are getting with Van Noy. The main reason he is so high is due to his price being so cheap. At only $12m for two years the Patriots are getting him cheap. Also with Dont’a Hightower back from his opt out they will make a great partnership again.
Matt Judon is expensive but the Patriots can afford him. $54.5m for four years is big but Judon has proved his worth whilst in the Ravens defense. He was the top for sacks since 2017 for the Ravens and is a two-time pro bowler who can translate that form to the Patriots. It would be surprising to see him flop with so many talented defenders around him.
Cam Newton had a tough year last season but he isn’t costing the Patriots much. At $5m for a one year deal he is cheap for a starter. Newton showed with the Panthers that he likes big bodied tight ends and guys that can stretch the field quickly. The Patriots have gone out and got them and so Newton should succeed more this year then they did last year.
Hunter Henry is the second piece to the Gronkowski/Hernandez puzzle that the Patriots have been looking for. Jonnu Smith is not your typical tight end setting up all over the field but Henry is. Henry does come with injury risks but he is still a quality player who will play most games. Although he cost $37.5m for three years he is ideal for the Patriots and will be a major part of the offence.
Henry Anderson is exactly the type of player that Bill Belichick loves in his defensive line. Anderson is 6ft 6 and 310lbs and will make a huge difference to that line. Although he hasn’t got the greatest stats over his career he is cheap and that pushes him up this list. Anderson isn’t fancy but he is effective, just what the Patriots are always looking for.
The Patriots have been desperate for wide receiver talent and Kendrick Bourne is a decent addition. He is similar to Jakobi Myers but he is still someone you want on your team. The only downside to this deal is the price. Paying $15m for three years is steep considering the receiver market. However, they have obviously seen something in him and it will be interesting to see what he does.
Deatrich Wise is on an incentive heavy contract and so has not cost much for the Patriots. He played well over his rookie contract and the Patriots believe the best is still to come with Wise. He looked better when the Patriots used a heavier front and it looks like they are going back to that. Wise is cheap and solid.
Ted Karras is a two time Superbowl champion with the New England Patriots and is a quality offensive lineman. However, he didnt have a great year in Miami last year but he is coming back into a system he knows. Given the price of the contract, one year for $4m, he is worth bringing back to add depth. You cant have to many offensive lineman on your roster and Karras is one of the better backups in the league.
Godchaux is so low on the list because he can only bring so much to the team. Although the Patriots had an awful run defence last year, which he will help to improve, that is all the Godchaux can do. He wont do much to stop the pass and in a pass heavy NFL that is a problem. Also, he has come in on a two year $15m contract which is expensive for what he can bring. Expect a restructure before his second year.
Jalen Mills has been bought in to take over from the retired Patrick Chung but this is still a strange choice. He was in Philadelphia for four years and he never looked great which makes you wonder why he was picked. His contract is for four years and $24m which also feels like a lot of money for a guy who hasn’t been great. When he was a corner he was poor but since transitioning to safety he has looked a little better. Belichick needs to work his magic to make this deal look good.
Nelson Agholor feels like a strange move and a massive overspend by the Patriots. His contract is for two years and $22m with $16m guaranteed. It was only a year ago that the Raiders signed him on a veterans minimum contract. He had a decent year with the Raiders posting 896 yards and eight touchdowns. If he can repeat that for the two years then it might be worth it but if he slips back to his Philadelphia form then its way to big. Will Fuller cost $10m for one year and is much better.