The New England Patriots just experienced their first losing season since 2000, and have no interest in doing that again. Just hours into free agency, the Patriots have spent $232 million to get back to their winning ways.
Of that $232 million, more than $200 million was spent on free agents from other teams.
The hits kept coming nonstop Monday, as the team quickly reached deals with tight end Jonnu Smith and nose tackle Davon Godchaux a few minutes after free agency opened. Hours later, the team made two more big additions, signing Matthew Judon and Jalen Mills.
Patriots board ...
• NT Davon Godchaux: 2 years, $16 million.
• OLB Matthew Judon: 4 years, $56 million.
• DB Jalen Mills: 4 years, $24 million.
• TE Jonnu Smith: 4 years, $50 million.
Smith and Judon = now the highest paid skill and defensive players in team history.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 15, 2021
The team didn't stop there. It also brought in receiver Nelson Agholor on a two-year, $26 million deal, former 49ers receiver Kendrick Bourne on a three-year, $22.5 million deal and former New York Jets defensive lineman Henry Anderson on a two-year, $7 million deal. The team also reportedly re-signed defensive end Deatrich Wise to a four-year, $30 million with $10 million guaranteed.
Those contracts aren't fully guaranteed, meaning the Patriots will, in all likelihood, not actually pay out $232 million to those players over the next four years. Still, the team already committed more guaranteed money to players this offseason than they have in any offseason over the past decade.
Patriots already have spent their most guaranteed money on free agents in any offseason over the last decade. https://t.co/iyQI3A72lx
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2021
Many of those players — including Ngakoue, Smith and Mills — are clients of Drew Rosenhaus, who cited a strong relationship with Patriots coach Bill Belichick as a reason the deals got done.
Patriots looking to bounce back in 2021
The Patriots made those moves after trading for offensive lineman Trent Brown and re-signing quarterback Cam Newton. All of those moves — in addition to getting players back who opted out of the 2020 NFL season — should make the Patriots more dangerous in 2021.
While there are questions about Newton's ability after he had a down year in 2020, the Patriots seem determined to give him better weapons in 2021. On that front, the trade for Brown and the Agholor, Smith and Bourne deals may just be start.
Whether you like it or not, it looks like the Patriots might be back in playoff contention this season.
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