I turn 20 years old today. Up to this point, Tom Brady had been the New England Patriots quarterback that entire time pretty much. It will be weird rooting for a mediocre team next year, but we’ve had enough winning to hold us over for awhile….hopefully. I’ll never take for granted the run of dominance I witnessed with him as our QB.
As for what’s next, no one really knows yet. In terms of supporting cast, they are still in pretty good shape. The defense is going to remain really good, despite Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins leaving. The secondary is pretty much the same, so they could add a little more help for the front seven, either later in the draft or a lower end free agent signing or two. The defense should be able to keep us in most games again, assuming they perform at relatively the same level.
Offensively, nothing is really set in stone except for the line. Assuming they don’t trade Joe Thuney, the line should be in good shape (although Dante Scharrnechia, the o line coach, did retire, so that could be something that bears watching). A couple more play makers are definitely needed, especially with the quarterback uncertainty. Mohammed Sanu could step up if he’s healthy, which could take pressure off N’keal Harry, and allow him to develop into a deep threat. A tight end is definitely needed, and that could be an area where the first round pick is used to address it. And there are still a lot of capable running backs here.
Also side note: it most likely isn’t feasible to pay Brady the amount he is going to get from another team (most likely the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Regardless of past production, he is a 43 year old quarterback who has shown signs of regression. Signing him for anything over 2 years isn’t worth it. That’s not to say he isn’t great, as he clearly would give us the best chance to win over the next couple of years, but there’s a cutoff point where you don’t go, and it’s definitely hit that. If he signs a reasonable offer then we can all be legitimately upset
While writing this, it’s tough to envision anyone but Jarrett Stidham being the quarterback next year. If the Patriots want to make a move they still have the cap to do that. Teddy Bridgewater is definitely an option at the right price. They could probably sneak in and try to get him before Brady signs but that seems unlikely. The biggest needs for this team are QB, TE, LB, WR, so it will be interesting to see how, or if, these areas are addressed before the start of the season. We will see what happens, but don’t be so quick to say this team has fallen to pieces yet. Anything can happen.
(Originally posted on March 17, 2020)