Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are on a Spending Spree in Free Agency
After a 7-9 lackluster 2020 season, New England head coach Bill Belichick has rejected the idea of ‘rebuilding’ and has spent an enormous amount of money in free agency this offseason. So are Super Bowl hopes finally restored in Foxborough? Patriots’s owner Robert Kraft better hope so, as his wallet must feel significantly lighter having spent $268 million, $137.5 of which is guaranteed money, on player acquisitions so far. This expensive lot is headlined by free agency’s most sought after tight ends, former Charger Hunter Henry and former Titan Jonnu Smith. Looking to recreate the infamous tight end duo that was former Patriots’ stars he-who-shall-not-be-named and Rob Gronkowski, Bill Belichick is still lacking one key ingredient: a winning quarterback.
Much can be said about Bill Belichick and his infamous “Patriots way,” but after watching former quarterback Tom Brady bring Tampa Bay a Lombardi trophy in his first year with the team, one may wonder whether it was coach or quarterback that led New England to all those Super Bowl championships over the last decade. Perhaps jealous of watching his former quarterback chucking that same Lombardi trophy boat-to-boat in the Florida sunshine, Belichick seems hellbent on reestablishing the Patriots’s brand as a perennial contender even without the greatest quarterback of all time.
So far, the Patriots have dished out money like Oprah on Christmas. For a team that used to refuse paying their big-name players big-dollars, New England is changing course in a last-ditch effort to stay relevant. Whether it will actually work will remain to be seen, but big-spenders have routinely missed the playoffs in the past. Take for example New England’s divisional-rivals in the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins, who spent $131.4m in 2019 and $147.2m in 2020 respectively and still missed the playoffs. Like the Patriots, these teams made major upgrades everywhere except for where it mattered most: quarterback.
One of the more shocking moves in free agency this offseason came when the Patriots re-signed quarterback Cam Newton to a one-year $14 million dollar deal. Despite being a team-friendly deal, the Patriots are making a risky bet in relying on Newton to capitalize on this team’s expensive new offensive weapons. Newton’s dismal 42.0 quarterback rating and eight touchdown passes to ten interceptions last season leaves a lot to be desired, especially with no competent backup in place behind him. While New England does have the 15th overall pick in the upcoming draft, a starting quarterback will be hard to come by at that spot unless the team were to trade up.
So is New England rebuilding or reloading? Well, neither. The team’s bold acquisitions prove that they are definitely not tanking but without a consistent quarterback, this team definitely isn’t reloading either. While this team could win 8 to 10 games next season, they stand no chance against the AFC likes of Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen. While the winning culture and fan atmosphere of Gillette Stadium may make this team exciting again, the New England Patriots are far from contenders and their dynasty has come to an end.