The New England Patriots are coming off their worst season in recent memory, going just 7-9 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. While they do have plenty of holes to fill on their roster — most importantly at quarterback — they do have the resources in both free agency and the draft to make some big moves and rebuild on the fly.
According to Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football, the team therefore is “the sleeping giant” of the NFL’s 2021 offseason.
“I have to think that the Patriots have some plan here, and they’re just playing it a little slow, a little quiet,” he said last week. “But I feel like the Patriots are the sleeping giant of this offseason. They have a ton of cap space, Bill Belichick is not at a point of his career where he’s looking to do a complete rebuild with a rookie quarterback and start from scratch, and the quarterback position is a giant X-factor.”
New England struggled at quarterback in 2020, with Cam Newton taking over the starting position from recently departed Tom Brady but failing to find much success. While the circumstances were obviously far from ideal for the offseason addition, Newton was one of the statistically worst passers in football.
Upgrading at quarterback will be key for the Patriots, both in the short and the long run.
“I would be shocked if they enter next season with Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham” Schrager said about the Patriots’ potential approach to the most important position on the field. “I have to think with what they went through and with what Belichick is at this stage in his career, the Patriots are going to make a couple of big plays. It might be at wide receiver, might be a defensive player
“I think the quarterback position — I think when we turn on our TVs in April, either after the draft or even after free agency, we are all going to be like, ‘Wow, the Patriots got X or Y at quarterback, and I think it’s going to be a fairly big name.’”
New England is currently projected to have around $64 million in salary cap space, and as such the resources to attack the quarterback position (and every other) quite aggressively.