The New England Patriots want to bounce again from one in every of their worst seasons in latest reminiscence in 2020. The primary yr within the post-Tom Brady period wasn’t a very easy course of because the membership went 7-9 and have been beneath .500 for the primary time since Invoice Belichick’s first season in New England in 2000. In addition they missed the playoffs for the primary time since 2008. Whereas final yr’s marketing campaign wasn’t as fruitful as many had hoped for round Foxborough, there’s hope that they will rebuild and switch issues round in a relatively brief time frame.
The Patriots enter this offseason armed with quite a few draft picks — together with No. 15 general — and are projected to have the fourth-most cap house within the league throughout an offseason the place most golf equipment might be needing to shed wage to get beneath the decreased cap quantity. That creates a powerful shopping for alternative for New England to seize some extremely proficient gamers, however the first order of enterprise, after all, might be to handle the quarterback place. Names equivalent to Jimmy Garoppolo, Marcus Mariota, Mac Jones and others will pop up on headlines for the following few weeks and we’re right here to information you thru all of the insanity.
Under, you will discover our offseason hub for the Patriots, which offers you each piece of knowledge you will want to remain caught up with Belichick’s comings and goings. We’ll have the newest rumors and information together with some dates that you’re going to need to circle in your calendar.
Key upcoming dates
- March 9: Deadline for golf equipment to put the franchise or transition tag on gamers
- March 15-17: Authorized tampering interval opens. Golf equipment are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, brokers of gamers who will turn out to be unrestricted free brokers at first of the brand new league yr.
- March 17: The 2021 league yr and free company interval start at 4 p.m. ET. All 2020 contracts expire after this time and eligible gamers are free to formally indicators offers with different golf equipment. Previous to this deadline, groups should train choices for 2021 on all gamers who’ve choice clauses of their 2020 contracts, should submit qualifying gives to their restricted free brokers with expiring contracts to retain a Proper of First Refusal/Compensation, and should submit a minimum-salary tender to retain unique negotiating rights to their gamers with expiring 2020 contracts who’ve fewer than three accrued seasons of free company credit score.
- April 5: Golf equipment that employed a brand new head coach after the top of the 2020 common season might start offseason exercise applications.
- April 19: Golf equipment with returning head coaches might start offseason exercise applications.
- April: 23: Deadline for restricted free brokers to signal.
- April 28: Deadline for restricted free brokers to signal provide sheets.
- April 29 – Might 1: 2021 NFL Draft (Cleveland)
*All dates and instances are tentative and topic to alter.
2021 regular-season opponents
*The precise 2021 schedule might be launched later this offseason.
2021 NFL Draft picks
- First spherical (fifteenth general)
- Second spherical (forty seventh general)
- Fourth spherical
- Fifth spherical
- Sixth spherical
- Sixth spherical (through Dallas for Michael Bennett)
- Seventh spherical
Extra picks might be added as soon as the 2021 compensatory picks are handed out. New England is projected to obtain three compensatory draft picks in 2021 for the lack of quarterback Tom Brady, together with linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins, in free company final yr. These picks will possible both be within the third or fourth spherical.
Pending in-house free brokers
Restricted free brokers:
- J.C. Jackson, cornerback
- Dee Virgin, cornerback
- Jakob Johnson, fullback (ERFA)
J.C. Jackson is the clear headliner of this restricted free agent group for New England. The Patriots will virtually actually place a first-round tender on the up-and-coming cornerback as they appear to maintain him in Foxborough for the foreseeable future. With Stephon Gilmore nearing the top of his contract (signed via 2021) and probably on the commerce block this offseason, preserving Jackson might arguably be the Patriots’ prime precedence on the defensive aspect of the ball. In 16 video games final yr, Jackson hauled in 9 interceptions and defended 14 passes, each of which have been crew highs.
Unrestricted free brokers:
- Joe Thuney, offensive lineman
- Jason McCourty, cornerback
- James White, operating again
- Lawrence Man, defensive deal with
- Adam Butler, defensive deal with
- David Andrews, middle
- Rex Burkhead, operating again
- Jermaine Eluemunor, offensive lineman
- John Simon, defensive finish
- Cam Newton, quarterback
- Terrence Brooks, security
- Damiere Byrd, large receiver
- Cody Davis, security
- Shilique Calhoun, linebacker
- Justin Bethel, cornerback
- Brian Hoyer, quarterback
- Nick People, kicker
- Brandon Copeland, linebacker
- Carl Davis, defensive deal with
- Marcus Martin, offensive lineman
- James Ferentz, offensive lineman
- Deatrich Sensible, defensive finish
- Devin Smith, large receiver
Joe Thuney stands out as the most proficient Patriot set to enter the free agent market. New England positioned the franchise tag on its beginning left guard final offseason, so it is unlikely it does so once more this yr. Meaning if the Patriots get to the beginning of the brand new league yr with no deal executed with Thuney, they will be competing with the remainder of the league. This might be a pivotal offseason with New England’s offensive line as beginning middle David Andrews can also be taking a look at unrestricted free company. Thuney and Andrews have been key items to the Patriots’ sturdy O-line and in the event that they want to double-down on their dashing assault in 2021, it could behoove them to re-sign each gamers.
After all, Cam Newton is one other notable free agent. New England’s passing assault wasn’t prolific with Newton beneath middle final yr, however the quarterback did see an amazing quantity of loyalty from Invoice Belichick. Whereas he might have been benched in-game at instances, Newton by no means noticed Belichick take his beginning spot away from him when he was wholesome. It’s going to be protected to imagine that the Patriots will search for an improve over Newton throughout the league this offseason, however you additionally should not rule out a possible return.
Within the backfield, the Patriots have two fan-favorites getting into free company in James White and Rex Burkhead. Whereas each have been key members throughout New England’s most up-to-date Tremendous Bowl run, it does seem to be Damien Harris is primed for a bigger function in 2021, which may make them expendable. Particularly, White may have himself fairly the market as one of many higher pass-catching backs within the league.
On the defensive aspect of the ball, Lawrence Man needs to be a participant New England focuses on preserving. He is been a implausible piece within the inside of the defensive position over the course of his tenure. In 14 video games performed final yr, Man posted 57 tackles and two sacks.
Free agent scorecard
Free brokers the Patriots retained:
Free brokers the Patriots signed from one other crew:
Free brokers the Patriots misplaced to a different crew:
Gamers the Patriots signed who have been lower by one other crew:
*It is vital to distinguish between the gamers signed as unrestricted free brokers and people signed after being lower by one other crew. That is true as a result of gamers who’re signed after being launched by one other crew don’t depend within the compensatory draft-pick formulation for the crew that indicators them.
Rumors, experiences, updates
Feb 26: Julian Edelman needs to play in 2021, uncertainty surrounds knee
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Community experiences that Julian Edelman needs to play in 2021 nevertheless it actually will depend on whether or not or not his injured knee permits him to take action. The veteran receiver was restricted to simply six video games in 2020 as a consequence of that knee, which required a minor process to be finished within the midst of the 2020 marketing campaign. Per Rapoport, Edelman is continuous to rehab his knee so he’ll have to attend and see the way it responds earlier than a ultimate determination is made on the place he goes from right here.
Feb 26: Hightower, Chung, Cannon to play in 2021
The Patriots are getting some key reinforcements for subsequent season as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Community experiences linebacker Dont’a Hightower, security Patrick Chung, and offensive deal with Marcus Cannon will all play in 2021. That trio opted out of the 2020 marketing campaign because of the COVID-19 pandemic however is able to play going ahead. Rapoport added that every one three are mentioned to be in a superb place bodily.
Feb. 22: Patriots calling about each obtainable veteran QB
Jeff Howe of The Athletic experiences that New England has been scouring the quarterback market and has known as about each veteran signal-caller who could also be obtainable this offseason. Regardless of the extraordinary search, the Patriots have been “disciplined” of their strategy, per Howe, and “to this point been thwarted by inflated costs in an offseason that’s presently siding with the sellers.”
Feb. 22: Cam Newton open to a Patriots reunion
Throughout an look on the ‘I Am Athlete” podcast, Newton famous that he “cannot exit like that,” signaling that he has no plans on retiring from the NFL after a less-than-stellar yr with the Patriots. Talking of New England, he was agency when requested if he’d be keen to return to Foxborough to swimsuit up with the Patriots in 2021, saying “Sure. Hell sure.”
Newton additionally added that he believes there usually are not 32 quarterbacks higher than him proper now, that means that he expects to begin someplace within the league in 2021.
Feb. 18: Patriots had no actual curiosity in Carson Wentz
The Patriots are very a lot within the quarterback market, however as Michael Giardi of the NFL Community experiences, that they had “no actual curiosity” in pulling the set off on a commerce that may land them Carson Wentz, who has since been dealt to the Indianapolis Colts. Wentz’s 2020 marketing campaign did not depart a lot to be desired and the Patriots might have felt that the conditional second-rounder (that might flip into a primary) that was the centerpiece of the Wentz commerce to Indy, was a bit too wealthy for his or her blood.