While Tom Brady is in Florida celebrating his seventh Super Bowl win, his former team will have to find a way to get back into contention after a disappointing 2020 season: coming off a 7-9 campaign, the New England Patriots are in rebuild mode and will use the offseason to restock a roster that is in need of a long-time quarterback solution as well as upgrades on both sides of the ball.
However, given that the Patriots hold the 15th overall selection in this year’s draft and are among the league leaders in salary cap space — the current projection is around $64 million — they are in prime position to restock their team for another playoff run in 2021. Accordingly, ESPN’s Dan Graziano recently named the club as the most interesting team in the NFL this offseason:
We saw what Tom Brady is capable of doing without Bill Belichick; now we need to see what Belichick is capable of doing without Brady. Belichick has spoken publicly about the extent to which the team was hamstrung financially in 2020, but those excuses are out the window as of now. Can he find a quarterback and rebuild his dynasty without Tom?
ESPN asked its writers to provide numerous predictions for the upcoming year, and Graziano named the Patriots in the category of “most interesting team of the offseason.” The New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints and Washington Football Team were also named in this group.
New England was also named in another category, with Mike Clay predicting the Patriots as the one team to make the playoffs after missing them in 2020:
New England will need to be aggressive in finding an upgrade at quarterback this offseason, but it’s hard to imagine a Belichick team missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Remember, the Patriots will get back a ton of talent from the opt-out list and should still have one of the league’s top defenses. Expect the Patriots to leap right back into the wild-card mix.
It remains to be seen how those predictions turn out, but they make one thing obvious: the Patriots will be a team to watch over the coming weeks and months.