2022 Patriots free agency period

rodderick

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So what are the biggest needs going into the draft now for NE, following the acquisition of Parker?

In my opinion:

1. DL
2. Speed at LB
3. CB
4. OL
5. WR

Of course, they'll draft the best player available to them on their board. But these are what I think they now need the most. WR slips down a few spots, though of course if they can get a dynamic playmaker I want them to snag one.
I have CB, LB, DL, OL. They still need a top tier WR, but have a bunch of solid guys, so I'm fine with not using a higher draft pick on the position even though it's yet another loaded class.
 

Shelterdog

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I have CB, LB, DL, OL. They still need a top tier WR, but have a bunch of solid guys, so I'm fine with not using a higher draft pick on the position even though it's yet another loaded class.
Unless Jennings/Perkins/Uche are secretly a lot better than any of us think, my list would be "edge" linebacker/DE type, IOL, Corner, DT, Safety, then wideout. But totally ok with picking any of those positions in the first if you have a great player drop.
 

54thMA

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I have CB, LB, DL, OL. They still need a top tier WR, but have a bunch of solid guys, so I'm fine with not using a higher draft pick on the position even though it's yet another loaded class.
This is where I'm at............CB is a top priority, LB is a close second, then DL then OL.

I wouldn't rule out them using 6 of their 8 picks on defense side of the ball.

Bringing in Parker signals the end pretty much for Harry, outside of Ken "game day" Sims, I cannot think of a bigger first round bust than him. And Sims had a pretty decent stretch after some initial rough patches until he broke his leg when he leg whipped a running back, pretty sure that was vs the Colts.
 

Average Game James

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I have OL as the biggest need. I mean, if the season started tomorrow they’d be starting Ferentz at LG? If they come out of the draft with any combo of CB/LB/edge/DT I’ll be happy, but they absolutely need an OL.
 

Cellar-Door

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I would be surprised if they used an early pick on WR, I don't think it's a particularly big need comparatively, and strategically you're probably better off taking your WR 1 swing in a year or two for roster and 2nd contract reasons.
 
Apr 24, 2019
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I think it’s shocking how few people here don't see finding weapons/playmakers at WR a massive priority right now. I don’t discount the greater need to land a #1 CB, and probably another CB besides that. And yes, the OL could use an infusion of youth - but this team has historically shown an ability to find decent (at least) tackles and guards in the 4th and 5th rounds, and beyond. Adding a legit playmaking WR (besides DeVante) is, in my view, imperative to:

A) the ability to compete at all, in the AFC especially.
B) evaluate ASAP if Mac Jones is a true long term answer at the most critical, determinative position in pro sports.
 

Scoops Bolling

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The idea that this team needs to expend top draft capital on a WR is fucking insanity. Bourne, Parker, Agholor, and Meyer is plenty of WR talent, far more than the team has had in any number of successful seasons, particularly when viewed in the context of the talent at RB and TE. On the other hand, the team quite clearly needs significant help at the edge, ILB, CB, and both lines. Wasting top assets on luxury items like another WR is what badly managed teams do. Fill the holes on the defense, reinforce the lines, and then maybe you can consider taking a shot at a WR. Unless the team is blown away by someone, it would seem an egregious decision to go after a WR above the other far more important needs this team has.
 

mauf

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I think it’s shocking how few people here don't see finding weapons/playmakers at WR a massive priority right now. I don’t discount the greater need to land a #1 CB, and probably another CB besides that. And yes, the OL could use an infusion of youth - but this team has historically shown an ability to find decent (at least) tackles and guards in the 4th and 5th rounds, and beyond. Adding a legit playmaking WR (besides DeVante) is, in my view, imperative to:

A) the ability to compete at all, in the AFC especially.
B) evaluate ASAP if Mac Jones is a true long term answer at the most critical, determinative position in pro sports.
There is no “ASAP” evaluation to make on Jones. The next decision point is in two years, when the Pats decide whether to pick up his 5th-year option (or to break the bank with a massive extension). He’s already shown enough to nail down the starting spot until then.

Don’t disagree that it would be nice to get him a WR to throw to, but once you get past the first 15 picks or so, WR is almost as big a crapshoot as RB. Is there any other position on the field where a guy like N’Keal Harry could go 40 spots ahead of a guy like DK Metcalf? The Pats have lots of needs, so I’d rather see them focus elsewhere in the early rounds and take a flier or two late on receivers.
 

Cellar-Door

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I think it’s shocking how few people here don't see finding weapons/playmakers at WR a massive priority right now. I don’t discount the greater need to land a #1 CB, and probably another CB besides that. And yes, the OL could use an infusion of youth - but this team has historically shown an ability to find decent (at least) tackles and guards in the 4th and 5th rounds, and beyond. Adding a legit playmaking WR (besides DeVante) is, in my view, imperative to:

A) the ability to compete at all, in the AFC especially.
B) evaluate ASAP if Mac Jones is a true long term answer at the most critical, determinative position in pro sports.
If Mac Jones can't succeed with this WR corps he isn't the answer, a #1 WR can elevate of QB that's true, but they aren't that important to evaluating a QB.

I also think a key is that you can easily win with the current WR talent, I don't think that's true about the defense, or the O line long term, and honestly we haven't really found tackles in the mid-rounds, Cannon has filled in at RT but otherwise we have a long string of 1st (and a 2nd) rounders at tackle (Light, Solder, Vollmer, Wynn).

I also think that fixing the defense is FAR more likely to make us competitive in the AFC than adding a rookie WR. The WR corps on this team is fine, the defense as presently constituted isn't. We improved the WR corps a good bit with Parker, and it was not the WR or the passing game that was our problem last year, it was that we couldn't get stops at all against good offenses.

Edit- also honestly it's bizarre to think that people watched the Patriots spend 2 decades winning consistently, rarely with top drafted WRs, and came to the conclusion that spending premium draft capital on them is a MUST 1 year into the rebuild.
 

Gash Prex

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Pats fans having been pining for the draft of a #1 WR since the days of David Terrell and Koren Robinson in 2001.

I still remember the apoplectic radio calls to WEEI when we picked Richard Seymour given his lackluster sack numbers in college and our desperate need for a #1 for Bledsoe.
 
Aug 9, 2015
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If Mac Jones can't succeed with this WR corps he isn't the answer, a #1 WR can elevate of QB that's true, but they aren't that important to evaluating a QB.

I also think a key is that you can easily win with the current WR talent, I don't think that's true about the defense, or the O line long term, and honestly we haven't really found tackles in the mid-rounds, Cannon has filled in at RT but otherwise we have a long string of 1st (and a 2nd) rounders at tackle (Light, Solder, Vollmer, Wynn).

I also think that fixing the defense is FAR more likely to make us competitive in the AFC than adding a rookie WR. The WR corps on this team is fine, the defense as presently constituted isn't. We improved the WR corps a good bit with Parker, and it was not the WR or the passing game that was our problem last year, it was that we couldn't get stops at all against good offenses.

Edit- also honestly it's bizarre to think that people watched the Patriots spend 2 decades winning consistently, rarely with top drafted WRs, and came to the conclusion that spending premium draft capital on them is a MUST 1 year into the rebuild.
I am fine investing in the Defense because they’ll need to make plays and be better situationally, but the Offense also has to put pressure on the other team. I have a feeling the Pats are going to draft an OG and the fan base will explode, but we’ll be better for it.
 
Apr 24, 2019
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The idea that this team needs to expend top draft capital on a WR is fucking insanity. Bourne, Parker, Agholor, and Meyer is plenty of WR talent, far more than the team has had in any number of successful seasons, particularly when viewed in the context of the talent at RB and TE. On the other hand, the team quite clearly needs significant help at the edge, ILB, CB, and both lines. Wasting top assets on luxury items like another WR is what badly managed teams do. Fill the holes on the defense, reinforce the lines, and then maybe you can consider taking a shot at a WR. Unless the team is blown away by someone, it would seem an egregious decision to go after a WR above the other far more important needs this team has.
I certainly appreciate that we can disagree but calling the idea that a playmaker-less WR corps needs to spend a 1st or 2nd round pick on a legit WR “fucking insanity” is itself fucking insanity. And this - “Bourne, Parker, Agholor, and Meyer is plenty of WR talent” is almost as ludicrous as this - “far more than the team has had in any number of successful seasons.” What on Earth is happening?

I like Meyers okay and Bourne seems to have some potential to be a real spark, but Agholor hasn’t shown much at all and while I’m excited about the possibility of Parker (if he manages to stay healthy), I’m certainly not counting on that based on his truck record. The rose-colored glasses are STRONG in this one. Holy Jesus.
 
Apr 24, 2019
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In what world did I say the patriots should find a top 10 WR or even state that the team needed to take one in the first round? Also, the idea that the WR corps is FINE because under the greatest player of all time they only needed guys like, ya know, Troy Brown and Wes Welker and Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks and LaFell and Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell, I mean…ALL of those guys are arguably better than every single receiver the Patriots currently have on the roster.

I’m not looking to change the successful approach the team has taken over the years. I’m looking to improve the position beyond “I hope Bourne continues to trend up.”
 

BaseballJones

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I'd love to add a true WR1 talent. But defense is by far the bigger priority, on all three levels. They need better DT and edge players, they need faster and better LBs, and they need to add at least one quality corner, maybe two.

I wouldn't be surprised if they traded down from #21 to pick up an additional, say, 3rd round pick, to get more chances of landing good players.
 
Apr 24, 2019
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I’d just like to add a playmaking WR, someone dynamic who can get open and catch the ball. In my posts on this subject I have even prioritized taking a corner FIRST. I can’t believe saying that this relatively pedestrian offense really could use some playmakers is remotely controversial.
 

Cellar-Door

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In what world did I say the patriots should find a top 10 WR or even state that the team needed to take one in the first round? Also, the idea that the WR corps is FINE because under the greatest player of all time they only needed guys like, ya know, Troy Brown and Wes Welker and Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks and LaFell and Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell, I mean…ALL of those guys are arguably better than every single receiver the Patriots currently have on the roster.

I’m not looking to change the successful approach the team has taken over the years. I’m looking to improve the position beyond “I hope Bourne continues to trend up.”
I mean... most of those guys were scrapheap guys, I think maybe 3 of them tops were at any point considered better than most of the guys we have, and other than Cooks all of that was after they were with the Patriots.

If anything, all of those guys are great indicators of how you can do very well by getting guys who fit your offense and scheming them.

I would also say, there is this tendency to say "oh the WR corps is bad" when it really really is not. If you were unhappy with the pass game last year, you probably should be looking at playcalling and early season Mac conservatism. Bourne put up some ridiculous per touch numbers, had dynamic YAC, and generally was really good, he just didn't get enough targets.

Parker for example... he was the 14th pick, in his only healthy season he put up 1200 yards, he's exactly the kind of guy you're asking for, and they got him for the equivalent of a 5th.

This is a perfectly average NFL receiving group, and a solid TE pairing. If you want to significantly improve it you probably need to take a WR at 21 (or honestly, trade up and take a WR), and that's where the pushback comes, that's not a good use of assets based on the other issues on the roster.

If the question is... could they maybe add a WR in the mid rounds... sure, but it's not likely a top priority compared to CB, LB, and likely both lines. If someone falls... sure.
 

Scoops Bolling

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Danny Amendola [...] LaFell and Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell, I mean…ALL of those guys are arguably better than every single receiver the Patriots currently have on the roster.
I think everyone on this board can safely ignore your opinion after this bit of fucking insanity.

The team has plenty of passing options on offense. Bourne, Parker, Agholor, Meyers, Henry, Smith, White, Stevenson, and Montgomery is more than sufficient. The team needs significant help on the defensive side of the ball given all the pieces we have lost there, and the offensive line is far less deep than any other positional group on the offensive side of the ball. Everyone would like a dynamic, playmaking talent. That's a real "no shit, Sherlock" level take. But that's not going to move the needle in winning versus losing the way that adding talent to the defense and the lines will. WR simply is not a pressing need that needs premium assets. This isn't Madden.
 
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streeter88

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The success is whatever WR corps we have depends on the development of Mac Jones in Year 2 and beyond. Keeping him upright will be a critical factor in that, as will defensive success in keeping him from having to throw on every down.

My vote therefore would be to draft another OL and use the rest of our picks on defense (CB and LB mainly but also Edge). There are way too many holes in the defense to spend precious picks on WR.

[Edited: a pick on WR is not a waste, but rather I would argue it’s a luxury the Pats can’t afford in 2022 with all the other priorities - especially on defense]
 
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Apr 24, 2019
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The team needs significant help on the defensive side of the ball given all the pieces we have lost there, and the offensive line is far less deep than any other positional group on the offensive side of the ball. Everyone would like a dynamic, playmaking talent. That's a real "no shit, Sherlock" level take. But that's not going to move the needle in winning versus losing the way that adding talent to the defense and the lines will. WR simply is not a pressing need that needs premium assets. This isn't Madden.


Setting aside the “it’s fucking insanity” but it’s a “no shit Sherlock” level take…is there a reason you’re ignoring the fact that I’ve said that my top priority is to draft a cornerback, which unless I’m mistaken, is considered a defensive player? I don’t think it’s remotely controversial to state that the offense and its young, NOT TOM BRADY QB could use a talent uptick at receiver. I’m fully aware that there are needs elsewhere and that this is not a video game, and that - correct me if I’m wrong - the Patriots have more than a single high-ish pick on draft weekend.

I hope you’re right that the WR corps in Foxboro can improve - by dint of their own blossoming talent and that of the kid throwing them the ball. I’m certainly willing to agree that your POV is not remotely “fucking insanity.” But if I could trade ALL of the NE receivers for ALL of the receivers on any other AFC East team, I would do so in a cocaine heartbeat. And so would you.
 

Shelterdog

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I’d just like to add a playmaking WR, someone dynamic who can get open and catch the ball. In my posts on this subject I have even prioritized taking a corner FIRST. I can’t believe saying that this relatively pedestrian offense really could use some playmakers is remotely controversial.
I find the term playmaker is so vague as to have no real meaning. Like sure, football players need to make plays, we all agree with that, but when folks say playmakers they are rarely talking about getting a young Richard Seymour or Matt Light--two guys who made a ton of plays in their day.

If what you're saying is the Pats need more guys who can make a Tyreek Hill type highlight play, yeah those plays are nice but those players are pretty rare and I"m not sure you actually do need them.
 

Saints Rest

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Here's the updated list of Patriots picks in the upcoming draft:
  • First round: 21st overall
  • Second round: 54
  • Third round: 85
  • Fourth round: 127
  • Fifth round (via Dolphins): 158
  • Fifth round (via Buccaneers): 170
  • Sixth round: 200
  • Sixth round (via Rams): 210
My hope is that they go something like:
  • First round: BPA Defense
  • Second round: BPA Defense
  • Third round: BPA Defense
  • Fourth round: BPA OL or WR
  • Fifth round (via Dolphins): BPA OL or WR
  • Fifth round (via Buccaneers): BPA Defense
  • Sixth round: BPA Defense
  • Sixth round (via Rams): BPA Defense
 

Shelterdog

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I hope you’re right that the WR corps in Foxboro can improve - by dint of their own blossoming talent and that of the kid throwing them the ball. I’m certainly willing to agree that your POV is not remotely “fucking insanity.” But if I could trade ALL of the NE receivers for ALL of the receivers on any other AFC East team, I would do so in a cocaine heartbeat. And so would you.
You ever heard of the Jets?
 

Super Nomario

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Unless Jennings/Perkins/Uche are secretly a lot better than any of us think, my list would be "edge" linebacker/DE type, IOL, Corner, DT, Safety, then wideout. But totally ok with picking any of those positions in the first if you have a great player drop.
Yeah, edge is the weakness I think no one is talking about. I think if the season started today they'd run more of a 4-3 with Wise as the DE opposite Judon, but I don't know if they want to move in that direction or if Wise is a good fit for a role that big, and there are still depth issues behind. They had three guys in Hightower, Van Noy, and Collins who could all move between OLB and ILB, and now all three of those guys are gone. Do they want a guy like that, who can do off-ball and on-ball things, or are they looking to build a D with more defined roles in the front 7?

LG is probably the single biggest hole on the team, though the rest of the OL should be good. I think if they had to play a season starting tomorrow they'd start Herron at LT and kick Wynn inside, but that's not ideal. Will be interesting to see if they go for a pure G type or a T/G hybrid who can potentially kick outside if Wynn is gone after 2022 (or in case of injury).

CB and WR I think are both positions where what they really need is a #1 guy and, for obvious reasons, that's hard to find via the draft.

DT I think they're looking specifically at a big nose to replace / upgrade Carl Davis; from what I understand, there are a couple guys like that but they might go early.
 

Shelterdog

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Yeah, edge is the weakness I think no one is talking about. I think if the season started today they'd run more of a 4-3 with Wise as the DE opposite Judon, but I don't know if they want to move in that direction or if Wise is a good fit for a role that big, and there are still depth issues behind. They had three guys in Hightower, Van Noy, and Collins who could all move between OLB and ILB, and now all three of those guys are gone. Do they want a guy like that, who can do off-ball and on-ball things, or are they looking to build a D with more defined roles in the front 7?

LG is probably the single biggest hole on the team, though the rest of the OL should be good. I think if they had to play a season starting tomorrow they'd start Herron at LT and kick Wynn inside, but that's not ideal. Will be interesting to see if they go for a pure G type or a T/G hybrid who can potentially kick outside if Wynn is gone after 2022 (or in case of injury).

CB and WR I think are both positions where what they really need is a #1 guy and, for obvious reasons, that's hard to find via the draft.

DT I think they're looking specifically at a big nose to replace / upgrade Carl Davis; from what I understand, there are a couple guys like that but they might go early.
Just as a matter of football philosophy I'm a boring building along the line (or at edge linebacker) kid--I looked at last year's team and was last concerned with linebacker speed and more concerned with QBs having the time to hit a running back in the flat or backs getting through the line and into some space where Hightower and VN weren't as nimble as they once were. But my personal desire to have great lines isn't particularly predictive of what the Pats will do.

I'm with your on corner and wide receiver especially--they don't necessarily need someone right away and I'm not sure that your typical 2-4th round pick at those spots actually is a big contributor next year for them but if they actually want to be good they need to start adding some real talent somewhere; hard to be a top five-ten defense without a great cover corner and hard to be a top five or so offense without a player who can consistently draw double teams.

The draft my tell us otherwise but I'm a bit of a Sherman/Herron believer, simply because I don't believe they let Karras go and trade Mason unless they think somehow they can cover the LG spot semi decently without using a high draft pick. And watch me be proven completely wrong when they take Zion Johnson in the first (which given were our line is, given that Andrews is getting older, maybe isn't that bad an idea).
 
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chief1

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Does the recent cost (both in trade value and contracts) for wide receivers change the way teams should value wide receivers? Its getting to the point where getting a top WR on a rookie deal is almost as valuable as getting a good QB on a rookie deal.
5 years on a rookie deal, and then even if you dont resign him, look at the trade value of recent wide receivers. Of course you have to hit on the player (hello Nkeal Harry!), but isnt that true of every 1st round pick?
Isn't it good strategy to take your chances on finding that stud WR in round one than other positions of lesser value? Like LB or Oline for instance?
Just asking the question.
 

DJnVa

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I can’t believe saying that this relatively pedestrian offense really could use some playmakers is remotely controversial.
It's because this "pedestrian offense" was 6th in the NFL in scoring last season with a rookie QB and lots of new players learning the system. Could it use them? Sure--every offense could use more playmakers, but the talent drain seems to be elsewhere.
 

BaseballJones

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The Patriots' offense last season, just to be clear:

Total Yards: #15 (353.4)
Pass Yards: #14 (226.9)
Rush Yards: #8 (126.5)
Points: #6 (27.2)
Comp %: #5 (68.0)
Yds/Pass Att: #7 (7.7)
AY/A: #12 (7.5)
Sacks: #4 (28)
Passer Rating: #12 (95.5)
Rush Yards: #12 (4.4)
DVOA: #9
Off SRS: #8 (3.6)
Drive scoring %: #2 (48.0%)
Off expected points: #10 (126.97)

So the offense in 2021 was good. Not GREAT, but good. It was a very solid unit that obviously could stand to be improved, but it isn't necessary in order to win it all. I'd obviously look to upgrade the offense, but honestly, if they can shore up the offensive line, they HAVE upgraded the offense with the addition of Parker. Parker may not be all-world, but a 4-WR corps of Parker-Meyers-Bourne-Agholor is much better than Meyers-Bourne-Agholor-Gunner.
 

Dogman

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Yeah, edge is the weakness I think no one is talking about. I think if the season started today they'd run more of a 4-3 with Wise as the DE opposite Judon, but I don't know if they want to move in that direction or if Wise is a good fit for a role that big, and there are still depth issues behind. They had three guys in Hightower, Van Noy, and Collins who could all move between OLB and ILB, and now all three of those guys are gone. Do they want a guy like that, who can do off-ball and on-ball things, or are they looking to build a D with more defined roles in the front 7?

LG is probably the single biggest hole on the team, though the rest of the OL should be good. I think if they had to play a season starting tomorrow they'd start Herron at LT and kick Wynn inside, but that's not ideal. Will be interesting to see if they go for a pure G type or a T/G hybrid who can potentially kick outside if Wynn is gone after 2022 (or in case of injury).

CB and WR I think are both positions where what they really need is a #1 guy and, for obvious reasons, that's hard to find via the draft.

DT I think they're looking specifically at a big nose to replace / upgrade Carl Davis; from what I understand, there are a couple guys like that but they might go early.
Been thinking a bit on their first 3 picks in the upcoming draft and have stewed on their signings in FA on the defensive side. With the idea that this team will play much more zone, I think they do essentially run a base 4-3 and use their first two picks on DL and then LB (OLB/ILB). I do wonder if they use a lot of 2-5 with Duggar, Phillips, Williams and Peppers are used with Wilson as the speedy on and off ball ILB/OLB to match with specific offensive personnel. From there, I think we see Butler, Mills, Mitchell playing shells with McCourty playing single high.

Because of that, I think G is the third pick with CB is fourth, with BPA filling out the remaining picks. I don't think WR is a priority for the draft this year.
 

leftfieldlegacy

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Mac Jones automatically becomes a better QB with better blocking and more time to throw and playing with a defense that gets him the ball more frequently so he can run more plays/game. Signing Parker was a great move toward helping Agholor become that deep threat that everyone wants. I'm optimistic (hopeful) that Jonnu Smith can find a niche role to give Jones another weapon. I'll be very happy if BB uses his picks to add more picks and upgrades the D and OL.
 

kartvelo

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An elite receiver is no use to a qb lying on the ground under a pile of defenders.
First things first.
 

rodderick

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An elite receiver is no use to a qb lying on the ground under a pile of defenders.
First things first.
It's what everyone said when the Bengals drafted Chase, and while pass protection was a huge factor in costing them the Super Bowl, my feeling is there's no way they get there with Rashawn Slater at LT and no Chase. I'd take an elite receiver and a meh lineman in today's league over an elite lineman and a meh receiver.
 

BaseballJones

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These guys sure hate Belichick.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/33762418/malcolm-butler-surprising-return-new-england-patriots-never-burn-your-bridges-down

"Butler said Patriots coach Bill Belichick was the catalyst for his return.

"It came as a surprise, it really did. My agent [Derek Simpson] told me Bill wanted to talk with me. I was happy. I started working out immediately, because I knew it could be a possibility that I could return," Butler said.

When the two talked, Butler said Belichick simply asked if he was "locked in" after a year off, and that they had already addressed his Super Bowl benching after that game in February of 2018.

Butler, 32, expressed confidence that he will quickly return to his prior form.

"I'm confident I got it. I've worked hard. I didn't sit on the couch all offseason," said Butler, who is a top candidate to replace former starter J.C. Jackson, who signed with the Los Angeles Chargers as a free agent. "I'm confident in myself, and I wouldn't be here if the Patriots didn't think the same. I'll defeat [those] odds, I'm telling you that now."

Of his retirement from the Cardinals, Butler said: "Belichick would always say 'do what's best for the team' and at that time I think I did what was best for me and my family. If you're not prepared mentally, you can't do nothing physically. So I think I made the right decision doing that.

"I came out of retirement because I love the game of football. I'm blessed to have another opportunity to play, thanks to the Patriots.""