The Patriots begin day three of the silly season with no major signings on the free agent market. This should not come as a surprise as the organization as a whole is like a teenager who waits until the last second to find a prom date, when the popular opinion is all the good girls are gone. Except more often than not the Pats and their date tend to have a great time and a stable relationship that ends with a fruitful marriage.
The Patriot reportedly will offer Chris (7/11) Hogan an offer sheet, and according to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston may also be preparing an offer to Rod Streater formally of the Raiders. Time will tell if they are just quick fill in dates or the type of players the Patriots can hook their trailer up to.
Heading into the offseason the general thinking was the Patriots needed a running back or two, a wide receiver and a tight end for skill position players. They needed a third corner and a backup linebacker who could help on special teams. On the offensive line, they needed a swing tackle. So far the Patriots have shored up two needs with the signing of Saint linebacker Ramon Humber and agreeing to a two-year pack with their own tackle LaAdrian Waddle. Both players will fill roles for the team and important ones at that. The Patriots also needed to start thinking about signing their own key defensive players, Malcolm Butler, Jamie Collins, Donta Hightower and Chandler Jones.
What does the early spending in free agency mean to the Patriots?
Big money has been spent at the defensive end position. Malik Jackson and Olivier Vernon have both signed five-year packs at $85.5 and $85 million respectively. So this could very well be the last year in New England for Chandler Jones. The Patriots may actually be catching a break on the linebacker market as both Danny Trevathan (four years $24.5 million) and Bruce Irvin (four years $37 million) have signed cost effective packs with the Bears and Raiders respectively. The cornerback market is once again strong as the Giants have over invested $62.5 million over five years in Janoris Jenkins and Sean Smith signed a fair deal with the Raiders for four years at $38 million. The Patriots could always let Malcolm Butler play out this year and hit him with a high restricted free agent tender. Barring a huge season from Jones, I would not expect the Patriots to use the franchise tag on him.
Who can the Patriots sign to help Tom Brady?
Big names at running back have come off the board with Chris Ivory, Matt Forte, Lamar Miller signing and CJ Anderson being signed to an offer sheet by the Dolphins. The Patriots still could upgrade the running back position with a lesser known back. James Starks and Benny Cunningham have both been in for visits, and I highlighted Cunningham as being a fit for the Patriots here. If the Patriots want to stick with the big back, passing back model, then options such as bringing in Alfred Morris or resigning LeGarrette Blount could be the answer. If the Patriots are looking to be less predictable than Starks or Cunningham could be a good fit in a committee approach. Do not expect Dion Lewis to be as dynamic as he was to begin last season. The Patriots may rely on James White to be the third down back.
A receiver could be handled with Hogan and Streater. The Patriots could also bring in veterans, Andre Johnson, Anquan Boldin or Roddy White. The Pats could also bring back Brandon LaFell who was released earlier this month with an injury. On the tight end front, the Patriots brought in Clay Harbor for a workout and he could be a compliment to Rob Gronkowski.
Take a depth breath Patriots fans, hardly ever is the winner of the March spending season hosting a Lombardi trophy the following February.