A report card for the offseason's signings that the Patriots acquired in 2021:
Numbers: 38 targets, 27 receptions, 316 yards, 5 TD, 11.7 Y/R, 3.5 YAC/R, 8.9 ADoT, 69.5 PFF grade
Cost: 37.5 million/3 years, 25 million guaranteed. 3rd year moderately cuttable. 12.5 mil APY
Henry has caught a touchdown pass in 5 of the last 6 weeks. He's been a reliable target for Mac Jones and this offense. He hasn't been stellar or a great ROI thus far, but it's basically par for the course with his Chargers production. The grade is trending up. Henry leads the team, by far, in receiving TDs. The desperate need for TE is also factored into the grade.
Numbers: 34 targets, 21 receptions, 193 yards, 1 TD, 9.2 Y/R, 7.8 YAC/R, 4.4 ADoT, 51.2 PFF grade
Cost: 50 million/4 years, 31.25 million guaranteed. 4th year moderately+ cuttable. 12.5 mil APY
Right off the bat, I thought about giving Smith a D+ grade. Mainly because of the aforementioned and blatantly obvious need for TEs that existed prior to this offseason. But even with that factored in, the grade is a D-. Only a D- because he has contributed on the field at times. But he's also been a legitimate detriment on the field (see: NO game).
This is a player who is being paid 12.5 mil APY and is virtually locked in for 3 years here. The money spent and guarantees is why this signing was bad. The idea of going after Jonnu Smith was sound, the execution and details were not. We desperately need this player to turn it around. If he's going to be this D to C level player that needs screens and designed plays to even muster the lackluster production he has now, the nearly 14 and 15 mil cap hits in 2022 and 2023 are going to haunt us.
Numbers: 36 tackles, 23 solo, 10 for loss, 9.0 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 16 QB hits, 68.2 PFF grade
Cost: 52.5 million/4 years, 30-32 million guaranteed and up to 56 million earned. 4th year is moderately cuttable. 13.625 million APY
I wanted to give Judon an A- but the cost here is just very high. He's been great. This is a case where you have to say F-- the PFF grade, it's too low. At the same time my belief has always been sacks are an overrated statistic (and some decent football mind might have said that too recently...)
Good signing. B+/A- range. We'll see where it goes, but obviously "good". Leads team in sacks. If we warp back to a simpler time of 1995-2010 roughly, where it mattered, he's tied in 3rd for league leader with 9 sacks.
Numbers: 7 snaps played, 57.5 PFF grade
Cost: 9 million/1 year, 6.5 million guaranteed.
Verdict: F / Pending
Seems like it's a bit unfair to give an F grade here, but what else can you do? If you're going to grade this signing as it stands 9 games into the season it's clearly an F. He's played 7 snaps and for what little it's worth he's been graded poorly on those 7 snaps too.
The idea of signing this OT made sense, but at the same time it was a blunder to just automatically revert Onwenu to guard when he played at a top 10 RT level the season before as a rookie contract 6th rounder you have control of. Instead we signed a player who is very unreliable and injury prone, from 2019 to 2021 across the last 3 seasons he has managed to play 17 games out of 41 possible. We all hope he comes off IR and contributes, but this is an F/Pending.
Numbers: 42 targets, 22 receptions, 335 yards, 15.2 Y/R, 3.9 YAC/R, 15.6 ADoT, 67.9 PFF grade
Cost: 22 million/2 years, 16 million guaranteed. Only tradeable, moderately in year 2. 11 million APY
This grade easily could have been a C- and an argument for a C+ could be fair perhaps. He's just a step up on the scale of a Phillip Dorsett or Damiere Byrd. He's an actual 1st-2nd round talent, he's a real NFL player, he's got speed. Anyone who thought he was a WR1 and the last season in LV was a true reflection of the player was deluding themselves.
With that said, his ADoT is impressive, he's a deep threat speed guy obviously. He'd be on pace for 600-700 yards across a 16 game season, at 11 mil per year that's a pretty average outcome / ROI here. It's a C- to C signing really. Actually generous to get the full letter grade of C here.
Numbers: 28 tackles, 20 solo, 0 INT, 3 PD (passes defended), 60% completion against, 59.1 PFF grade
Cost: 24 million/4 years, 9 million guaranteed. Cuttable in year 3. 6 mil APY
Listen, this might be the most biased grade out of all but I don't care. I want to give Mills an A+ honestly. PFF can kick rocks here, their grades on our defense are completely whack. They have Jackson at a 69.3 and Judon's grade above seems too low. Mills is clearly too low.
This guy wasn't signed to play boundary CB here. But he's been CB2 all season. The one game he missed we all saw how JJW looked in Houston manning that spot. Jalen Mills is being paid relative peanuts to play CB2 this season and the Patriots defense is 4th in points allowed and 9th in yards allowed despite playing a lot of zone and bend don't break which everyone loves.
This is an A- to A+. Anything lower than a B+ or A- on Mills is straight cappuccino, all cap.
Numbers: 39 targets, 29 receptions, 422 yards, 14.6 Y/R, 6.0 YAC/R, 10.1 ADoT, 72.2 PFF grade
Cost: 15 million/3 years, 5.25 million guaranteed. Year 2 cuttable. 5 mil APY
I was wrong. I did not criticize the Bourne signing nearly as much as Smith and Agholor in real time this offseason, but I gave it some flak. It was always a cheap signing at 5 mil APY and set up to be fake money after year one pretty much. Bourne made that one amazing catch on the sideline in the NO game I believe. He's just been productive and at a low cost. The outcome so far is good.
Don't really think the rest are worth analyzing or are nearly impossible to do so. I think Karras deserves a shout out as he's starting at guard and playing well we think. Godchaux exists. KVN started to turn it around after a slow start, etc.