Could the Patriots make any of these potential signings and get back to being a playoff contender?
The Patriots had a stagnant year last season after coming off a season where they made the playoffs. The offense looked sloppy, and overall New England took a step back. With the AFC becoming a power conference, New England needs to make more meaningful signings to compete in the competitive AFC, and in the landscape of the NFL in general.
They’ve already started the offseason off quite well on the coaching staff end by extending Jerod Mayo as well as signing Bill O’Brien and Adrian Klemm as their offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. What’s still pending for the Patriots is the players side, which they can take care of in the draft and free agency. Here are some potential big signings New England could make to address key needs.
Orlando Brown Jr.
The Patriots’ offense live took a major step back in 2022. Mac Jones also regressed as a result. The Patriots had talent on their offensive line, but Matt Patricia was not a beneficial coach to them. The tackle position is becoming an issue with Isaiah Wynn regressing over the past two seasons, and Trent Brown’s inconsistent play along with injuries. The Patriots need a big presence at left tackle and Orlando Brown Jr. provides that. Orlando Brown Jr is 6’8 and he’s a very solid run blocker and a pass blocker.
Orlando Brown Jr. allowed four sacks the whole year, and he was ranked by PFF with a 75.8 blocking grade. Orlando Brown Jr would be a very good addition to a New England offensive line that is only missing one piece. Acquiring Orlando would make New England a consistent top-eight offensive line again. It is clear Orlando Brown Jr wants a large contract, and New England shouldn’t overpay for Brown. If the price is right, the Patriots should make an aggressive push,
Jessie Bates III
Overall in the 2022 season, the Patriots’ defense was their strength. The defense would keep them in games, led by superstar pass rusher Matthew Judon. The questionable secondary New England had quickly turned into a great one. Jack Jones was a ballhawk cornerback, Marcus Jones showed promise, and Jonathan Jones had one of the best years in his career. Kyle Dugger had a massive breakout year, finishing with two touchdowns, three interceptions, and 78 tackles.
However, with Devin McCourty being unclear on how much longer he will play and Adrian Phillips’ contract soon ending, the Patriots may need to address their safety position this off-season.
Jessie Bates would be a terrific addition. Bates is a star safety. Bates has over 100 tackles in three of his five seasons. In his most recent season, Jessie Bates III finished with 71 tackles and four interceptions. Bates is a fantastic tackler for a safety and he plays good coverage. Jessie Bates III is only 25, and if New England extends Dugger, a combination of Kyle Dugger and Jessie Bates III would give New England an elite safety duo and a defense for years to come.
Whether Bates can hit free agency is still unclear, because the Bengals may franchise tag him. If he does hit the market, New England should make a push. The Patriots are top five in cap space and have lots of money to spend. While there are more important needs than safety and Bates would be a luxury, he would give this defense a massive boost.
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