Thu, Mar 18, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The New England Patriots have gone on an impressive spending spree to open free agency this week. The free-agent signing period didn’t begin until March 17 in the late afternoon and the Patriots already had agreements in place with more than a handful of new players. Those deals became official once the period officially opened at 4 PM ET.
One of the first deals the Patriots put in place was with quarterback Cam Newton, who returns after his lone season in New England for another go-around with hopefully more weapons on offense.
The Patriots added two strong tight ends via free agency in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. New England likes to play with a two-tight-end set and it looks as if this tradition will continue in 2021 with Henry and Smith on board for $37.55 million and $50 million, respectively.
Newton needs playmakers around him as the Patriots ranked 30th in the league last year in passing yards at 180 per game. The Patriots also ranked 30th in the league in interception percentage.
New England didn’t stop at the tight end position, adding multiple wide receivers and multiple players on defense for a total spending spree of $137.5 million in guaranteed money in the opening moments of free agency.
NFL veteran wide receiver Nelson Agholor signed for $11 million, while wide receiver Kendrick Bourne was added for $5.25 million. Newton now has four new weapons at his disposal in what should be a much-improved offense for New England in 2021.
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Patriots made significant upgrades to multiple positions, including cornerback, defensive tackle, and linebacker.
One of the first defensive moves the Patriots made was signing former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills to a four-year, $24 million. $9 million is guaranteed. The team re-signed cornerback Justin Bethel to a three-year contract. Bethel led the team in tackles on special teams with 14 in 2020.
New England also added a pair of linebackers to improve the second-level of their defense. Kyle Van Noy and Matthew Judon move to the Patriots from the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens, respectively.
Van Noy is on-board for two years, while Judon signed a four-year deal.
The Patriots improved upfront on both sides of the ball as well. The linemen signed by New England include:
David Andrews (center)
Montravius Adams (defensive tackle)
Davon Godchaux (defensive tackle)
Deatrich Wise, Jr. (defensive end)
Ted Karras (center)
Henry Anderson (defensive tackle)
Carl Davis (defensive tackle)
Aside from all of these linemen signings, the Patriots reportedly traded for offensive lineman Trent Brown. Brown spent the earlier portion of his career on the New England offensive line before moving to the Las Vegas Raiders. Now, Brown is back with the Patriots and their revamped offensive line.
New England missed the playoffs in the 2020 season for the first time since 2008. You can get back to betting on the Patriots in 2021 with the flurry of moves made early in the new league year.