1. Add more downfield playmakers on offense
This past offseason, the organization opened its checkbook in a big way and added to an offensive unit that finished 27th in NFL in total yards. Only two teams in the league gained fewer yards through the air. The 2020 Patriots scored only 326 points and Josh McDaniels’ unit produced only 32 offensive TDs.
Enter free-agent additions in the form of wideouts Kendrick Bourne (5) and Nelson Agholor (3) and tight ends Hunter Henry (9) and Jonnu Smith (1). That quartet combined for 18 of New England’s 24 scores through the air – 22 of those via the arm of rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
The Patriots totaled 462 points, sixth-most in the NFL, and the offense finished with 48 touchdowns. But the team was still lacking when it came to explosiveness. The team managed only eight passing plays of 40-plus yards in 17 games.
While the Patriots have not had a lot of success finding wide receiver help in the draft for quite some time, things could certainly change this spring. And given the spending that the team did in free agency in 2020, this is the likely option for Belichick and company.