NFC scout has harsh review of Patriots' 2021 free-agent signings

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Darren Hartwell
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NFC scout shares harsh review of Pats' free-agent signings originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Depending on who you ask, the New England Patriots either won the first wave of NFL free agency by loading up on talent on both sides of the ball or hamstrung themselves by overpaying for big names.

Add another critic to the latter camp.

NFL Network's Mike Giardi on Tuesday relayed the opinion of an NFC scout who isn't too keen on the Patriots' moves, which include 17 free-agent signings and one trade acquisition to date.

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The scout softened this take by admitting the Patriots addressed their need for a "talent infusion." But the scout clearly believes New England didn't spend its money wisely.

There's no doubt the Patriots spent big by guaranteeing more than $160 million to their new signings, the most in the NFL.

Here's an updated list of the Patriots' offseason additions and departures.

New tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith ($12.5 million per year in average salary) are the league's highest-paid tight ends outside George Kittle and Travis Kelce, while Nelson Agholor ($11 million per year) becomes New England's richest wide receiver despite struggling with inconsistency in Philadelphia before coming to the Las Vegas Raiders last season.

House money

Money Kraft spent to purchase the franchise in 1994

$172M

Money the Patriots have guaranteed to new signings (estimate)

$162.5M

Variation

Double

We haven't even mentioned edge rusher Matthew Judon, who's now the Patriots' highest-paid player at $13.6 million per year. And there's a history of teams spending big in the offseason only to disappoint in the fall.

Perry: Grading every Patriots position group after free-agent binge

The counterpoint? Bill Belichick had money to spend, so he spent it on talented players who should fill major roster needs. Nine of the Patriots' new signings are age 27 or younger and several are on multi-year deals, so these players could contribute in Foxboro for quite some time.

New England may have paid above market value for guys like Agholor and Judon. But as our Tom E. Curran wrote Monday, you shouldn't get caught up in the numbers. When Week 1 rolls around, just "watch the damn show."