Two weeks. That’s it.
It’s March, which means free agency is right around the corner, and with the fourth-most cap space in the league, the Patriots figure to be one of the more active teams. Not only that, they have a lot of holes to fix on their roster.
Here’s a ranking of needs (by position) the Patriots face as free agency approaches.
1. Wide receiver
The Patriots ended last season with Jakobi Meyers, N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd as their top three wide receivers. During the late-season Thursday night loss to the Rams, Troy Aikman remarked during the FOX broadcast that it felt like the players were playing a spot higher than they should. It was probably two spots higher than they should, which highlights the need for the team to add legitimate players at the position. Adding a clear No. 1/2 would drastically improve the Patriots offense. If the team is going to prioritize a position this month, wide receiver should be it.
2. Tight end
For the second straight season, the Patriots had the worst production in the league at tight end. While Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi are entering their second seasons, the team needs to add a veteran to stabilize the position. Tight ends are very important in a Josh McDaniels-led offense and clearly have been needed in recent years. There won’t be many viable options available, but the Patriots should be in on all of them.
While some may say quarterback should be at the top of this list, it was clear last year the Patriots need players in place for the QB to throw to. And without many great options available, it’s even more imperative for the Patriots to have decent weapons in place for whatever quarterback is under center come Week 1. Given the number of needs the team has, it isn’t in its best interest to over extend themselves for a QB. This is why the need is No. 3 on this list.
4. Defensive line
This was already a thin unit last season and a few players could be lost as Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler are both free agents, so the Patriots should make sure this is addressed this month. It could be bringing back Guy and signing a low-tier free agent later on, but with Guy turning 31 later in the month, the Patriots should be taking things off his plate, not adding to it.
If Dont’a Hightower wasn’t reportedly planning on playing again in 2021, this would be higher, but his return will make the position much better than it was a year ago. While he’s a year older, he provides a ton of leadership and guidance to a position that needs it. With that being said, with the way the game is trending, it would be in the Patriots’ best interest to add an athletic, speedy player at the position.
6. Offensive line
There’s a good chance Joe Thuney departs via free agency and then David Andrews is a free agent as well. Even if Andrews re-signs, there’s a question of if Marcus Cannon will be on the roster come Week 1. If he is, Michael Onwenu would slide back inside to guard, but the team should still be looking at tackles considering Cannon’s age and the unknown with Isaiah Wynn’s long-term future. The Patriots have always addressed this position a year early, so don’t be surprised if it’s a target this offseason.
Based on what we saw last year, it doesn’t seem like the Patriots can count on fifth-round pick Justin Rohrwasser, so the team needs to add a kicker, as he’s the only one currently on the roster. This could be as simple as bringing back Nick Folk, but regardless it’s a position that needs to be addressed.