As the legal tampering began on Monday, the New England Patriots were heavily active which proves Bill Belichick is determined to avoid a repeat of 2020.
Roughly two hours into the start of the league year, New England had already spent more guaranteed money on free agent players than it had in any other offseason over the course of the last decade, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
By the end of the day, Bill Belichick and the Patriots had gone out and signed a total of eight free agents, also re-signing a few familiar faces to the team from a year ago. That was all in just one day.
As far as acquisitions, those players included the likes of tight end Jonnu Smith (four years, $50 million), linebacker Matt Judon (four years, $56 million), defensive back Jalen Mills (four years, $24 million), nose tackle Davon Godchaux (two years, $16 million), offensive lineman Trent Brown (via trade), wide receivers Nelson Agholor (two years, $26 million) and Kendrick Bourne (three years, $22.5 million) and defensive lineman Henry Anderson (two years, $7 million).
The Patriots also brought back quarterback Cam Newton, defensive back Justin Bethel and defensive linemen Carl Davis and Deatrich Wise Jr. as of Monday.
Those signings proved one thing: Belichick and company are serious about improving in 2021. And they are doing just about anything they can to avoid a repeat of what took place during the 2020 season.
Coming into the offseason and specifically the start of the new league year, New England ranked right at the top of the league in cap space available. That space allowed the Patriots with the ability to be aggressive early on in free agency and perhaps overpay for a few players, and they did just that right out of the gate.
The players that New England brought in will help it improve on a disappointing 7-9 showing in 2020, one of which ended with a brutal showing on the offensive side of the ball and ultimately without a trip to the postseason by the end of the regular season schedule.
Smith and the wide receiver duo of Agholor and Bourne will provide Newton — or whoever is the starting quarterback — which much-needed weapons that were among the offense for the last few years. The additions on defense will help the Patriots be able to return to dominance on that side of the ball in the upcoming season as well.
In an offseason that has been entertaining already and will continue to be leading up to the start of the 2021 regular season, New England and Belichick are serious about adding talent to needs on the team and taking advantage of the position they are in compared to other teams in the NFL who are strapped salary cap-wise.
The Patriots took the league by storm on and they might not be done just yet.