Instant analysis of Patriots agreeing to terms with DT Davon Godchaux

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Henry McKenna
·2 min read
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The New England Patriots have two defensive tackles slated as pending free agents, but before bringing either of those players back, Bill Belichick agreed to terms with pending free agent defensive tackle Davon Godchaux, per multiple reports.

It’s a high compliment to Godchaux, with the Patriots tending to award interior candidates with big contracts — rather than looking out of house. New England and Godchaux agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth $16 million, with $9 million guaranteed, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

At $8 million per year, Godchaux’s contract is comparable to that of Michael Brockers and Ndamukong Suh — both of whom have that same annual total per year. That’s a lofty financial comparison.

While Godchaux’s 2020 season was messy with 16 tackles and two quarterback hits in four games before he suffered a season-ending biceps injury, his 2019 season was extremely impressive. He finished with 75 tackles, seven quarterback hits and two sacks. Pro Football Focus also awarded him with the most run stuffs in 2019. Even at 6-foot-3, 310 pounds, the 26-year-old shouldn’t be a two-down player. Godchaux is likely to play in passing situations, too.

After the Patriots struggled against the run in 2020, Bill Belichick is clearly going out of his way to rectify the situation. New England was rated 32nd in run defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. It was the easiest way to beat the Patriots: run it up the gut. And that created problems in the secondary, which had been their strength in 2019. The cornerbacks and safeties were, essentially the same from 2019 to 2020, but the production was way down, from 6.0 yards per attempt allowed in 2019 (second best) to 7.5 in 2020 (23rd).

It’s clear the Patriots hope to use Godchaux as a means to ameliorate the quality of play in the defensive interior, which should have a ricochet effect across the defense.