This past February, Bill Belichick sat at home and watched his former quarterback Tom Brady overcome all odds and defeat the Cheif’s in the Super Bowl. The age-oldhead-scratching debate of who was more important to the Pats, Bill or Tom, was starting to gain momentum and Bill was having none of it. After missing the playoffs for the first time in what seems like forever, the Patriots utilized their stimulus checks and went to town on free agency.
After a tumultuous season, the team decided to bring back Cam Newton, which was a head-scratching move. However, they countered that move with a flurry of others. After spending a record amount of money for New England, the Pats added wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, linebacker Matt Judon, safety Jalen Mills, defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Henry Anderson, and defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. They also traded for an offensive lineman and a familiar face, Trent Brown.
The biggest additions in many people’s eyes might be their new Tight Ends duo. On the first two days of free agency, the Patriots worked their magic signed two studs at the position. Jonnu Smith comes from the Titans on a 4year, $50 million dollar deal, and former Chargers Hunter Henry joins on a 3 year, $37.5 million dollar contract. We saw this one brewing right in front of our noses.
Clearly, the Pat’s mean business for years to come if they are going to invest a combined 7 years and nearly $90 million on one position. New England has lacked recently in the Tight End department, especially since the departure of Rob Gronkowski. The team is known for having success when possessing quality dual threats, including the likes of Daniel Graham/Benjamin Watson combo and then Gronk/Aaron Hernandez.
Both Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry were considered to be the best at the position in this season's free-agent market. According to Front Office Personal and ESPN, Smith was viewed as the better all-around tight end compared to Henry, with Henry the more prolific pass-catcher (196 catches vs. 114 for Smith).
Cam Newton will need to step up and perform for the Pats in order for this system to work. Newton is known for targeting tight ends throughout his career, mainly Greg Olson back when they were Panthers. These moves, in the addition to both receivers signed (Aghlor and Bourne), should immediately improve the Patriots offense, which ranked 30th in passing yards last season, averaging 180 per game. Both Smith and Henry are poised to succeed under the Patriots system. Could this mean we see the Pats back on top?
Photo: David Silverman Photography
Photo: CBS Sports