THE SYSTEM IS TRIED IN NEW ENGLAND BUT CAN THE PATRIOTS STAY TRUE TO IT ?!?! What happened in 2020? Was it a "rediscovery" year for Cam Newton and the perennial playoff-bound Patriots? Or has the system in New England run its course? One thing's for sure, the Patriots are different yet the same... Let's examine this theory, shall we?
Free Agency 2020: 23 signings with only 2 top price tags; $51 million to Kyle Van Noy & Jamie Collins not far behind at $30 million. All remaining signs were below $10 million. In all, 2 LB's as your Star QB Tom Brady headlines the show with his departure to Tampa Bay and the bulk of the signings were on defense (notable: Cam Newton replaces Tom Brady on a one-year deal for $1.7 million). so the season kicks off and it's all over the place with the tail end swerving and a miserable season end by New England fan standards. We now turn to 2021 and here's where the rubber meets the road, hooks up and the Pats seem to have things back under control. What a difference between one year with Cam Newton and some fresh perspective by Bill Belichick and Co.
Photo Credit: SportingNews.com
Free Agency 2021: 18 signing to date with ten of those above a $10 million price tag. I'd say the Patriots have made a slight deviation from their usual plan of sticking to the draft process. At the top of the list are offensive weapons which include protection help and downfield threats for Cam Newton. (oh yeah, Cam signed another one-year deal, and this time the Patriots didn't forget the gravy as this contract is worth $14 Million). With the likes of TE's Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith along with WR's Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, the Patriots have added much-needed skill and depth to a meagerly talented pass-catching unit. Now let's look at the numbers. Joe Thuney G and David Andrews C hit $99 Million combined. Another $124 Million in receiving with the aforementioned group of pass-catchers (Smith & Henry combining for $87.5 Million. On defense, they also went big to bolster the linebacking core in Matt Judon at $54 Million, the secondary with Jalen Mills at $24 Million, & the defensive line with Davon Godchaux at $15.
Photo Credit: ESPN.com
I think you'll agree the Patriots are still within their system improving the TE depth and bolstering the defense, they are just executing it differently than we are used to seeing and for one really good reason. Tom Brady is gone and he truly was the great equalizer in New England. Which Brings up the next big question. With the free agency moves being made can Cam Newton take the next step to truly replacing Tom Brady? If the Patriots didn't believe so Cam would be in search of his next team. There's some chemistry with Belichick and the mad scientist has some plans to ensure success. This also includes the 2021 Draft and who knows what the Patriots will do. One thing you can count on is they won't blow it because they never do. Again, a different type of success but I think we will all look back on 2021 in the 2022 Free Agency period with the sentiment of "Yep, the Patriots are still the same" and the real winner is history. It's not the system or the superstar, but plain old fashion history, and it's going to repeat itself in New England.
Stats Credit : https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/free-agents/2020/all/new-england-patriots/