The second day of the NFL’s legal tampering period is in the books, and it saw some more movement for the New England Patriots. The team re-signed safety Jabrill Peppers, tendered restricted free agent cornerback Myles Bryant, and added its first outside free agent, offensive tackle Calvin Anderson.
Additionally, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers was lost the Las Vegas on a three-year, $33 million contract. Heading into the final few hours of the 2022 league year, the Patriots are already looking quite different.
With that said, let’s find out who may or may not have benefitted from Tuesday’s transactions.
Winner: Patriots secondary. While safety and long-time team captain Devin McCourty is headed for retirement, New England was able to keep the rest of its secondary intact. After re-signing cornerback Jonathan Jones on Monday, two more players were locked up on Tuesday.
Jabrill Peppers is now the third man in a safety rotation also featuring Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips; all three are different player types than McCourty — they play closer to the box compared to the deep-lying veteran — but having all of them in the fold for 2023 is certainly good news. As for Bryant, he was the No. 1 slot cornerback a year ago and brings some experience to the competition while on a manageable contract.
Winners: WR Kendrick Bourne and WR Tre Nixon. Losing Jakobi Meyers is a blow to the Patriots offense the way it had been constructed recently; he led the team in targets and receiving yards each of the last three years. With him out of the equation, New England needs to look elsewhere for a chain-moving interior receiver.
The primary candidate to take over is Kendrick Bourne. While he had a rough 2022, he looked very promising the previous year and might be poised for a comeback season of sorts under new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
Nixon, on the other hand, was a practice squad player each of the last two seasons. He is a dark-horse candidate to see increased action with Meyers gone, having filled his role in the slot in practice last season when he was unavailable. Expectations should still be realistic for the 25-year-old, but he has a chance to at least see increased reps now.
Losers: OT Conor McDermott, OT Andrew Stueber, and OT Yodny Cajuste. After not addressing their offensive tackle position on Monday, the Patriots added former Broncos OT Calvin Harris to the group on Tuesday. The details of his two-year pact are not yet known, but his presence alone impacts the other guys: Conor McDermott and Andrew Stueber now face competition for what might not be more than two roster spots between the three of them.
As for Yodny Cajuste, he is a restricted free agent like Myles Bryant was. As opposed to the young defensive back, however, he has not yet been tendered. Anderson being brought in to bolster the tackle depth, however, might be a bad sign for his outlook.
Loser: QB Mac Jones. The Patriots did add a tackle to the mix to possibly help address the biggest need along the offensive line, but make no mistake: the offense as a whole is weaker after the second day of legal tampering. As for its quarterback, he has now lost his favorite target in each of his first two seasons in the league.
The Patriots will still add to their receiving corps — frankly, they have to — but for now it has only seen departures. First tight end Jonnu Smith was traded to the Atlanta Falcons, and now Meyers signed with the Las Vegas Raiders on what was a fairly reasonable contract.