Is there a Belichick-masterplan in Foxboro?

On the first day of the legal tampering period I started to write my latest article, but then the news came so fast about the Patriots signings, that I decided to wait until the dust settles. After the last few days it looks like the Patriots is more or less done with actions and we can begin to concetrate on the next steps.

For Patriots fans this FA is something what we never saw before, yes the circumstances are different as well, but still, Belichick spent ton of money on new signings and with it he just set a new record (another one). No team before, spent so much as the Patriots. The team made big splashes, they – it looks like – overpaid few players, but all in all, there is a feeling, that Belichick’s moves follow a bigger plan, which is not just be again in the Playoffs and win the Super Bowl, but there might be another big splash to come. Let’s go through the moves from the last 2 weeks and see what could be this last big splash.

Position weaknesses:

During the last weeks, I wrote several articles where I was discussing this topic. The team had only very few groups (P, LS) where things were ok and there is no need (this is only my opinion) of new players. There were few position (QB, WR; TE, DL) which were in critical condition and some others (LB/Edge, secondary, RB, OL) where the team could look for replacements for the longer term continuity.

QB: This was a must fix territory, since the QBs under contract (Stidham, Dolegala) were not really promising. Additionally, if the team planned to make bigger signings on the offensive side, they needed a better QB, who could draw interest from players on the market. Reports tell us, that Stidham is working very hard to be better, but it is still room for him in the team?

WR: Another group which needed new faces, but this one is a tricky group. I will write about later. So, this group was below average during the 2020 season. Meyer was the best in term of catches and yards, let’s say so, he was the most reliable target. Harry looks like a first-round bust. Sorry, but he is far from the expectations what people have, after he was taken in the first round. We still don’t know what’s going on with Edelman and if he would be able to play when the season starts, although we still have months to figure it out. Byrd is no more with the team, Olszewski is a depth player as WR, but a Pro Bowler ST guy.

TE: Again, we had higher expectations regarding the two 3rd rounder rookie, but that production was almost nothing. Izzo was the best, which says a lot. I wasn’t a big fan of LaCosse, so yes this position was screaming for some upgrade as well.

OL: Generally, the OL was ok last year, but two of the five starters became FA after the season, Wynn had health issues every year. The only two, healthy starters were Mason and now 2nd year Onwenu. I am very confident the OL coaches can make magic, if it is necessary, but fixing the line is another important task for the front office.

RB: Burkhead and White are free agents as well, but the core group is very talented. Harris, Michel, Taylor and Bolden is a solid group, with some versatility, but I can see here one more player from FA or draft.

DL: Our run defense was dead last (defense DVOA) last year and two core guys (Butler, Guy) became free agents, plus Wise was heading to the open market as well. Not the best starting point for a weak group. I don’t say there are no talents, but a bad group lost its best guys, so there was need for big changes.

LB/Edge: This group was part of the bad run defense, which wasn’t a big surprise here, after the departure of van Noy and Collins, plus the opt-out of Hightower. We have here a good young core with lot of upside, but they still have lot to learn. The good news that Hightower is coming back, which will elevate the whole group to a higher level, but 1 or 2 addition was expected here. The other thing what we have to consider, that both Hightower and Bentley will be free agents after the 2021 season, so there is a need for a succession plan.

CB: On paper, this is (one of) the best group in the team. Jackson is there (the expectation was always that he will get an RFA tender) so as Gilmore. And the depth behind them wasn’t bad either. Jason McCourty is the only notable name who left the team for FA. But, what if Jackson will depart to another team because the Pats won’t match their offer or they won’t pay him after the season? What if Gilmore doesn’t want to stay for the money he would get in 2021? Is the team ready to trade him or will he go after the season? These are important questions to consider.

S: Devin McCourty is coming back, there is Adrian Phillips and Kyle Dugger from last year, plus Chung who seemed to come back after the opt-out year. Additionally there were some depth, but bigger questionmarks too, what comes after the season? Dugger is a safe bet, he was very good in his rookie season, so he will be a core player in this group, but that is not enough to replace the departing  veterans.

ST: We have a Pro Bowl punter, this position is in great hands…. I mean legs. The long snapper position is ok as well. Kicker was a position to be filled.

That was our basic point before everything started. As I wrote earlier in my other articles, the team had holes to fill. That is why I was not a big fan of trading up for a rookie QB and give away early round picks.

Moves before the FA:

There were four notable moves before the legal tampering period started last Tuesday.

Trade for Trent Brown: This was a good move, which could fix one position in the Oline and create some flexibility as well. The team gave up a 5th round pick in 2022 for Brown and an additional 7th rounder in 2022. As reported, Brown was ok with a contract restructure and lowered his max number to $11M. His cap hit will be $7.625M in 2021 according to @patscap. Brown was immediately inked to be the starting RT, with an option for LT, if something happens with Wynn.

Re-signing of Cam Newton: I was ok with this move, I can support it as well. Cam wasn’t too good last year, but not all the failures were on him. He came in a system which was designed for Brady in the last 15-20 years. He had no offseason, which could have helped him and he got an offense, which wasn’t good enough to win a playoff game with Brady in 2019. Additionally he got covid, etc. I am not saying he still has his MVP talent, but he deserved another shot with better targets to prove his value. The one year contract has a max value of $14M and a cap hit of $5.5M (according to Miguel Benzan aka @patscap). That move gave me the impression, that the team won’t sign another QB in FA.

Re-signing of Justin Bethel: It was a bit under the radar move, but very important as well. Bethel is a special team ace and we all know how important this unit is for Bill Blichick. Bethel made a very good impression during his 1.5 season with the Patriots. With the fact, that Slater didn’t make his decision if he would come back for another year, the team made sure the ST won’t be without a respected leader. Bethel got a three year contract with the max value of $6M. The guaranteed part will be $2.75M and the cap hit is $1.9M for 2021.

Trading Marcus Cannon to Houston: After signing Trent Brown, many thought it is just matter of time until Cannon will be traded. Belichick made the trade with a well known person, Nick Caserio and made a good deal. According to the first reports the two teams swaped pics in the 4-5-6th rounds in 2021, but later came a correction and we learned, that the Patriots got a 4th and a 6th round pick in 2021 in exchange of Cannon + a 5th and a 6th rounder in 2021. With this move the Pats gave around $6.2M to the cap space.

Re-signings during FA:

Free agency doesn’t mean, the team will sign new players, they can re-sign some own players as well. The Patriots re-signed 7 own players this year.

The latest, but the most important, re-signing from this group was, David Andrews. Although he is not a top5 center in the league, he is one of the most important peaces in the Patriots offense. He gives the unit a form, he leads the Oline and he has huge experience in the system. Additionally he already played with Cam Newton, so they won’t need to start to build chemistry, which give them a better starting opportunity. Deatrich Wise’s contract shows us, that he might get a higher volume of workload. He is in his prime and he was a valuable rotational player, who can play as DE but is able to switch inside as pass rusher DT as well. Nick Folk was good last year and the team was able to sign him cheaper than I thought it would be possible, it is only a one year contract, so we have to wait what is  the plan here. Cody Davis is another nice addition to the special team. We don’t know what will happen with Slater and with Bolden, so the team made sure there will be continuity in this group. Jakob Johnson’s tender is a sign that the team wants to retain him, but shows, that he has no long term job security. He was good as a FB last year, but there is Dalton Keene on the roster, who could be the new guy and he brings more versatility, since he can play TE as well, not just FB. Johnson has to show his value if he wants to stay with the team.

J.C. Jackson is an interesting story. He is the latest UDFA miracle at the DB position. He had a very good 2020 season, showed nr.1 potential, but he is not on the that level yet. Many (including me) expected he will get a first round tender from the team, instead he got a 2nd rounder. With this move the Patriots could save almost $1.4M for the season and they could see what is Jackson’s value on the market. How? For me, Jackson is a top15-top20 corner at the moment, but I doubt teams would give up a first round pick for him, if he would have got a 1st round tender. With this move the Pats could have been sure, Jackson stays with the team at least for one more year. With a 2nd round tender, the situation is different. There are CB needy teams (Dallas, 49ers, etc) which could be ready to give up their picks in the second round, but before that they need to offer Jackson a contract, which could be matched by the Patriots. And this is exactly the point. I guess Belichick wants to see those numbers, he wants to be sure what Jackson’s market value is at the moment and if it is not too high he can match it and secure a good, young player for longer term. In case the numbers are high for him (which I doubt, since the cap is significant lower than last year), he could take the pick and put the money into Gilmore’s extension.

Signing back ex-Patriots players in FA:

Actually this is not so hard, considering how many player had shorter or longer stint with the Patriots. The team had a history to bringing back players after they tried their luck with another teams. Jamie Collins or Patrick Chung could be the most recent examples for this.

Karras was signed before Andrews came back. I guess the team didn’t see the opportunity any more to bring back the starter C, so they signed someone who has experience in the system and was a full time starter last year in Miami. Karras is an ok starter, who brings some versatility as well. Even after the Andrews signing, it is not bad to have him for the next season. If Wynn would have another injury, then the team can move Brown to LT, Onwenu to RT and Karras could jump in as LG. Hopefully Andrews won’t need a backup, as he stays healthy during the year.

Van Noy was an expected move few days back, when the rumors came out, he will be released from Miami. I wrote an article about him, so I won’t repeat myself. I was very happy when the news came out he will re-sign with the team. He will bring system knowledge, leadership and versatility to the unit. I am very fired up how the look of our new (old) defense will be next season.

New players from FA:

This is maybe the most interesting part of the free agency signings. I never expected so many top signings from the team, but once it was getting started we couldn’t rest. One signing after another.

The Patriots didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger and with the first selection in 2021 FA, they signed:

Jonnu Smith, TE: TE was a huge need, many discussed about the possible targets and both top2 TE got some love from the analysts and fans. Smith is a versatile player, who can play inline and from slot as well, he is very good after catch and he is only 25 years old. Ha played in 60 games and had 114 catches, 1,302 yards with 16 TD catches. Last year he was the best TE in receiving grade (88.5 PFF) and the second best in TD catches (8). I am very excited to see him in Pats jersey.

Matt Judon, LB: We knew that pass rusher is a position where the team needed an upgrade. When Judon was signed we didn’t know Kyle van Noy will be back as well. Judon is on the better side of 30, he played 5 years in the league and didn’t miss a game because of injury. He will be an important part of the organisation and that is what we can see in his 4 years contract. Ok, after two years the team can cut him with positive cap result, but I assume they plan to keep him. Judon can rush, can hold the edge against run, fits in the system. Last year he had 46 total pressures (which is only 1 less than Wino’s number).

Jalen Mills, DB: This signing made me thinking, why was it necessary, but Jason McCourty is a free agent and as we all know now, Patrick Chung retired, so he is some kind of a successor. Mills is a versatile kid, he played as OLB/nickel (both sides), slot CB, outside CB and free safety in 2020. These kind of players will always find their place on the roster. His contract structure is the same as Judon’s, after two years the team can cut the player with creating a bigger amount of cap space.

Hunter Henry, TE: He was a second day signing and not too many people thought this would happen. Even Henry told to riporters, that after Smith signing he didn’t think the Pats would be still in the picture. But the connection between Henry and coach Belichick is well documented, so it is not a big surprise, that Henry landed in Foxboro. With this move the Pats got the two best tight ends from the free agency and they will form – hopefully – a lethal tandem on the field.

Nelson Agholor, WR: He was the first (un)officially announced wide receiver signing of the first day. Many – including me – were surprised, Belichick picked him and not someone else (Samuel, Davis or even Golladay), but reading about him, makes clearer why was he the chosen one. Agholor was the „drop man“ in Philly, but during his one year tenure in Las Vegas he showed his potential. He is something what the Pats didn’t really have in long time, a reliable deep treath. He has 6 TD on 20+ yards throws, he led the NFL on vertical routes in yards (526), yards/route (2.8) and was second in TDs (8). His two year deal could be seen as overpayed, but in case he can bring his Raiders level of play to the Patriots, this will worth every penny.

Kendrick Bourne, WR: Before Agholor’s name came up in the reports, people wrote about Bourne as a possible signing. Not a big name, but has something BB loves, a really good 3-cone result (6.73) from the combine in 2017. He is not fast, rather quick and shifty. He had quite much (9) drops last season, but I guess the team hopes, that won’t be repeated in 2021. He could see more playing time in the slot. He could be cut after the season without big dead money, but still his 3 year $15M salary is not much.

Davon Godchaux, DT/NT: I guess the team brought him to play as a nose tackle in 0-tech and 1-tech, but he is not the typical NT, since he is „only“ 310 pounds. No problem, if he is good, then I don’t care about his weight. He came from Miami, so Belichick could see him enough to be sure he will fit in the system. Even Ted Karras told in an interview, he became a better man practicing against Godchaux. His $9M guaranteed part shows us, that he will have a bigger role, so don’t sleep on him.

Henry Anderson, DL: Another player from a division opponent. Anderson comes from the Jets, where he played during the last 3 seasons, so again, BB had time to observe him. He could be the Lawrence Guy replacement in the 3-5-tech area. He can play in multiple positions around the line and has some pass rush potential as well (7 sacks in 2018). In an interview he was very excited to play for the Pats, I hope the best for him. His 2 year contract can be terminated easily after this season.

Montravius Adams, DL: Another DL player, which don’t surpise me at all, since this position was in a bad shape earlier. He was a better college player, than a pro until now, so he has lot to prove and he is now in the best place to do so. He was drafted by the Packers in 2017 in the 3rd round, but didn’t made the boom. He will be a good depth/rotational option in the DT position. His son, Montravius Jr., was born on the same day he was drafted in 2017, so he got the call in the hospital.

Raekwon McMillan, LB: The latest additon to the team, was this young man, who played 2 years in Miami, but he came now from Las Vegas. His one year contract is a prove it type of agreement I guess. He was a second round pick in Miami and played as MLB/ILB.

Stand after those signings:

What we can see at the end of the day is, that the team tried to fill so many holes as possible both with quality and depth players. With the low first year cap hits, the Pats was able to sign more top players than we thought. Of course the high cap space and the new tv contracts helped the case to be creative, but still I don’t think we should be unsatisfied with the moves they made. Let’s re-check the positions.

QB: We have now Cam, which is good, but not enough. His one year contract gives me the feeling, that he is still viewed as a bridge QB. If he won’t perform better than last year (ok the bar is not high), he won’t get another chance here and in case he shows his greatness again, he could cash in somewhere else.

TE: I am almost sure (with BB as GM/HC you can’t be sure in anything) this position is done. Izzo was already traded and I think the team won’t keep 5 TEs on the roster. My feelings say, Asiasi’s place is safe as nr.3, but Keene is an interesting case. He has to fight for his roster spot with Jakob Johnson at the end. If he wins, he could have a Kyle Juszczyk type of a role as a hybrid FB/TE.

WR: We could say, there is still a need for a real nr.1 guy, but actually I won’t be mad if the team wouldn’t bring a top WR from the draft or so. Especially after the TE moves, the team is already versatile. Agholor can be the deep treath, while Bourne and Meyers are the short/mid-route receivers. That’s already 5 targets and we didn’t talk about running backs. I have my concerns with Edelman’s health. I would love to see him back healthy, but the latest news were not so promising. I can imagine he starts the season on PUP list, but that is a long way until then. Harry could be traded, which I think is a good idea for both sides. Anyway, this unit is better than the one from last year (again, the bar wasn’t too high).

RB: Here is still no action. White and Burkhead are still on the market and for the Patriots there is a need for a receiving 3rd down RB. JJ Taylor could be the man, but he has to prove it. I think 1 or 2 players will come to this group, since this will be Michel’s last year (and I would be surprised if the team would exercise his 5th year option), Harris has injury issues during his years in Foxboro and as I just wrote Taylor is not a proven player. Brandon Bolden could give some depth, but in sum, mid- and long term this unit is not ready. (read update at the end)

OL: In short term this line is ready to roll. We got our center back and with the arriving of Karras we have a very good backup, who can play in every IOL position. We have enough OT to start and hopefully the younger guys could develop enough to provide enough safety. Mid- and long term the picture is different. Brown and Karras are only 1 year long here, Wynn has to stay healthy and we still don’t know what the young backups could deliver. Belichick loves Oline, so I think he will pick a player or two in the draft.

DL: Not the burner group, but with the 5 signings/re-signings it shows some potential. Wise will get an increased role (based on his contract), Guy was replaced by Anderson (we still don’t know if he will be able to replace the production as well), we got a possible NT, which was a big hole last year and the Davis – Adams tandem gives us two extra rotational players. I won’t be surprised if the team would draft someone. This unit has quantity, but I am no sure what quality it has. (read update at the end)

LB/Edge: Boom. This group is so much better now than last year was, that I can’t even find the words. Alone Hightower would make the unit better, but he got van Noy back and Judon as well. With these three veteran players I expect with an elit level play. The young players now have enough options to learn from and be better and they won’t be forced to do more than they should be. Long term it is tricky again, since both Bentley and Hightower are in the last year of their contracts. If everything works ideally, the team will have replacement for both players. McMillan could be a long term answer here if he shows up this year.

CB: Short term, they are ok, but this group has lot of questionmarks. For example what will happen with the two top players? Will Gilmore’s contract restructured or he will be traded or he stays this year to leave the team after the season and try his luck on FA? Is Jackson the new, long term, nr.1 option or he will play under the tender to test the market next year or the team will let him go this year in exchange of a 2nd round pick? Jason McCourty is not here anymore, but he would be only a 1 year help again. Jon Jones has two more years, which is good. Mills was signed, but he is not really the pure CB. The Williams-Virgin-Bryant-Jackson-Ross group gives the team depth, but is there a future nr.1 or nr.2 option? My feelings say the team will secure Gilmore or Jackson for long term and might let go the other one. Of course I would be happy if they could extend Gilmore and give Jackson a 4-5 years contract, but is it really a possibility? I think they will draft someone on day2.

S: Chung is retired, McCourty might play his last year with the team. Dugger is an ascending player who could take over the leader role in the coming years, Adrian Phillips showed his value, but he will be a FA after the season. Cody Davis is more of a special team player and Joejuan Williams still has to prove his value. Mills could play here as well, but this is weak for long term. I usually say, there is no draft without a safety pick, don’t be surprised if BB will take someone again.

ST: Folk has a one year contract, but Aguayo is still here. Rohrwasser was waived last day. Here is a possibility that the team will bring another pair of legs in the locker room. Bailey has two more years.

After the roster moves yesterday (Rohrwasser, Maluia, Pinckney), the team has 77 players under contract. With 9 picks on the draft and another possible UDFA additions, the situation could be really tight for many players. I think playrs will be added to the following groups: QB, RB, OL, DL, CB, S.

Belichick’s masterplan?:

I know, I know, you opened this article mostly because of this part. But it is finally here. Let’s be honest. The Patriots filled almost every big holes in the roster. There are still groups with need for new players, but I don’t see any major issue now. There are positions (TE, LB) which improvements are huge and the team in sum is in a much better shape than it was last year. Newton has weapons now, the Oline is strong, so I tell you now, this team has to go into the playoffs this year.

The only BIG need is the QB. I cross my fingers for Cam, he deserves to have a great year, but he is not the long term answer. All these FA signings show us the path, what teams follow with a QB under rookie contract. Paying better players to be there and help the kid to be able to compete immediately. I have no problem with it, when was the last time our team was in this situation? Hm, I don’t know. Even with the young Brady, the situation was different. So this is a new thing to explore for the Patriots and as I see they wanted to make the best possible things. I am confident this team can compete for the playoff spot right now and this roster status gives the opportunity to be agressive on the draft, trade up and take the next – possible – franchise QB.

If we are talking about a rookie QB, we have to see who is on the roster already and in what style he is playing, what kind of playbook do the team has. This could narrow our target group. Cam Newton starts his second year with the team, which means the team already changed the playbook for him, compare to the one, Brady had. Cam runs much more, than Brady did, so the playbook could be more a dual-treath playbook, than a pocket passer playbook. Because of this fact I would say, Trask and co. are not really a good fit. Why? I don’t think it would make sense, if a team would bring together two QBs who have different skill sets. That would be bad for one of them. The veteran should play in an unfitting system, which would push the rookie on the field earlier than expected or the rookie should learn a system which doesn’t fit for him, which would be a waste of time.

As I wrote in my earlier articles, I think the best fit for the „old“ Pats system would be Mac Jones from Alabama. He had his (first) Pro Day yesterday and actually he ran better than expected. 4.76 on 40 yard or so. Which doesn’t mean he is a dual-treath QB, but he can move better than many reported. His playing style would be great in the Pats system. But hey, there is Cam Newton and that different playing style. I am sure Jones could learn a lot even in that system, but I wouldn‘t find it too efficient. So here are my top choices:

  • Nr. 1: Justin Fields
  • Nr. 2: (still) Mac Jones
  • Nr. 3: Zack Wilson
  • Nr. 4: Trey Lance
  • Nr. 5: Kellen Mond

I don’t think Trevor Lawrence would be available at any point. For me, Justin Fields is the best and most proven dual-treath QB this year. He played against strong teams, he led his team into the National Championship, he can throw, he can run and he would be a perfect fit with Cam Newton. I saw yesterday a video where Fields was still in high school and took part in some kind of camp. He gave an interview when Cam Newton jumped in and talked really high about Fields. What does that mean? The two has a great and long time connection. Cam could get a guy, who he advertised and now he could be his mentor. Fields could get a mentor who can teach him how to use his abilities even better and who plays like him (ok, maybe this is a bit too much, but we can see the similarities).

Mac Jones is Mac Jones, not a great fit with Newton, but I am very high on him and I think he could handle this difference. Zack Wilson is not the typical dual-treath QB, but he showed he can run, he has strong arms, so he would be ok as well. Additionally he likes the Pats. Lance would be another terrific fit in this new Cam-system, but for me he is overhyped. Yes, he played great, no INT in 2019 and the rushing yards and TDs, but for me he is very unexperienced. NDSU won championships without him, so the program is good with or without him. Tell the truth, Easton Stick had more rushing TDs (17) in 2018 than Lance had in 2019 (14), although Lance ran for 500 more yards (1.183 vs 677). Another comparison is Carlson Wentz, who was a Bison QB as well and his production is not good as a pro, despite the fact he was viewed as a great talent and was drafted with the second pick by the Eagles. I don’t have problem with smaller school players, but at the QB position I see things littlebit different. Kellen Mond is a second day target and I don’t thing he would be the target for the Belichick-masterplan, but still he could be a fit.

What is the biggest problem? The 1st and 3rd on my list will go out very early, possibly in the top5 pick. I saw mock drafts from experts, where Fields was picked at 12 or so, but I don’t see how could it be real. Until few weeks ago, the concensus was with Jones, that he will be available at 15 for sure or even the Pats could trade back few spots and still could get him. Now, the narrative changed, he had a good Pro Day, he will repeat it next week again, so his draft stock is rising. If necessary I would trade up for the top3 on my list, if the team stays put somehow and Lance is available at 15, then maybe I would take the risk, because in this case I shouldn‘t give up anything extra for that move.

But is there any real chance to trade up into the top10 or even into the top5? My short answer is yes. And this is the masterplan. Because there is no major roster need anymore and the team still has more than $10M cap space, this is the year when BB could sacrifice few high picks to move up.

The spreadshit shows us the team’s draft picks in this year with their values in Rich Hill’s (RH) and Jimmy Johnson’s (JJ) system.

Who could be our trade partner this year? 1/1 Jax, no way. They will take Trevor I guess. 1/2 Jets or 1/3 Dolphins won’t work out. Maybe in later rounds, but they would be crazy if they would help for a division opponent. So the earliest opportunity is the Falcons with the 4th pick.

Trade with Atlanta (1/4): This is the highest possible landing spot in my opinion and the question is, who will be on the board when this pick comes. We still don’t know what the Dophins and the Jets want to do with their QB situation. Reports say that the Miami plans with Tua (they signed Jacoby Brissett as backup) and Sam Darnold position is very uncertain. My guess is, that Darnold will be traded and the Jets will take their new QB. But who? It could be Fields or Wilson, one of the QBs on my list. If Miami will stick with the Tua/Brissett duo, the question is, if they want to take a WR with the 3rd pick or an OT or will they be open to trade down few spots (Panthers, Broncos, 49ers) and take the best player available? If they stay put and take for example Chase or one of the Alabama WRs, then there is an opportunity for the Falcons, or other team, to take Fields or Wilson. If Fields would be available, because the Jets took Wilson, then I would pull the trigger and would try to trade up.

The 4th pick has a value of 490.52 (RH) or 1,800 (JJ). The Pats has to give the 15th pick which has a value of 315.2 (RH) or 1,050 (JJ). That’s not enough of course. The Atlanta could use a CB help, so there is already an opportunity for discussion. I think both J.C. Jackson and Gilmore are worth an early second round pick, let’s say 2/5, that has a value of 161.67 (RH) or 530 (JJ). After this trade the package value would be 315.2+161.67=476.87 or 1,050+530=1,580. Quite close but still not enough. There is a 13.13 (RH) or 220 (JJ) points difference. That is equal with a mid-5th round (RH) or a top10 3rd round (JJ) pick. If we take the Rich Hill chart I would be happy to give away the 122nd (4/17) pick (13.24). In the Jimmy Johnson system this trade wouldn’t be so easy, since the gap is bigger than the team’s 96th pick (115). Here could be the following: 15+Gilmore/Jackson+46+177 for 4 + 68 (3/4). This would be in numbers: 1,580+440+27,2=2,047.2 vs 1800+250=2,050. This could be still less than the offers from other teams, but worth a try.

Another version could be, when the team gives up the first round pick from next year. Unfortunately these future picks are calculated as a one round later picks in the current year. So the 1st rounder in 2022 has a value of a 2nd rounder this year. So we are at the same amount like with Gilmore/Jackson. The problem with the Falcons is, they have around $5M cap space at the moment. So the Gilmore/Jackson trade is doubtful (of course we know cap space is only a myth and teams can be creativ with it). Let’s go back and replace Gilmore with the team 1st rounder from next year (which might be not so valuable). They would get the following package: 2021/1 + 2021/2 + 2021/5 + 2022/1. Would you make this trade for the 4th pick? Or just to be sure we can replace the 2021/5 with the comp pick from the 4th round. Would it be enough? Maybe yes, but in case the roster is in good shape, the team can give up one extra 1st rounder for the greater good.

Trade with the Bengals (1/5): The good thing with the Bengals, that they won’t draft a QB again, one year after the Burrow pick. The question, if they want to target a young OT (they could get the best in the class), another weapon for Joe or they want to get more picks? We will see soon, but in theory they could be trading partners. Could the Pats offer any player for them? Before the free agency, there was need for CB and WR for example. The Bengals signed Chidobe Awuzie for three years and Mike Hilton for four years, so it looks like it is not a major need anymore, although non of the mentioned CBs are on the same level as Gilmore or Jackson. WR could be something to offer and I think here on Harry, but he won’t have a second round value.

Let’s see the numbers. the 5th pick’s value is 467.81 (RH) or 1,700 (JJ). Little less than the Falcons pick. With the 15th pick (315.2/1,050) as sure component of the trade, the team should offer something or somebody in the value of 152.61/650 points. In Rich Hill’s system the 46th and 122nd pick could be enough compensation or Harry (and the 4th round pick stays in Foxboro). That package would have a value of 315.2+127.71+27=469,91. In Jimmy Johnson’s system the situation looks again littlebit more complicated. 1,050 (15th)+440 (46th)+68 (Harry)+115 (96th)+27,2 (177th)=1700.2

Trade with the Eagles (1/6): Another possible team, if they want to stick with Jalen Hurts. There is one name which always comes up when I think about the Eagles early pick if it is not a QB, Kyle Pitts, the tight end from Miami. Zack Ertz is not the youngest and the Eagles is trying to trade him, so a young, star TE could be a big help for Hurts. If they are open to trade that pick away, New England could be a potential trade partner. IF the targeted QB is still there. This is a big if, since it can happen that the Miami, the Jets, the Falcons and the Bengals will trade away their pick and with this in mind, no QB will be available so early.

The biggest problem with the Eagles is the cap situation which is worst than Atlanta’s, so a bigger player trade is not really possible. But maybe a Harry trade could happen. So the value of the 6th pick is 446.15/1,600. In Rich Hill’s system the team could offer the following: 315.2 (15th)+27 (Harry)+39.38 (96th)+69.82 (2022/2)=451,4. Or in Jimmy Johnson’s system 1,050 (15th)+440 (46th)+68 (Harry)+44 (139th)=1,602.

Trade with the Lions (1/7): This is the last trade option I will calculate. The Lions have more than $10M cap space, which is good for a possible player trade. Lions could have some corner need, so I will add Gilmore/Jackson to this scenario. The pick’s value is 425.5/1,500. The 15th pick+Gilmore/Jackson have a value of 315,2+161,67=476,87 or 1,050+530=1,580. In both cases the Patriots would give up more than the value of the 7th pick, so I would assume, that the Lions would put an extra pick in their package. The 112th (4/7) pick could be that extra pick, which value is 33.73/88. In Rich Hill’s system the Pats would still have a negative outcome, but in Jimmy Johnson’s system the Lions would give up little more.

In this case the Pats shouldn’t give up much, but big question who would be still on the board.

As you can see I tried to trade picks only from this year. That would be an ideal scenario, but it depends on how much the team wants to jump. That would be awesome if the Patriots make a big trade without using future picks. Many reports suggest, Jones will be available at 15, but after his Pro Day I am not convinced. I am expecting some trades before/during the draft. And again, this year is the year, when the Pats could trade up, because the roster looks quite good. I wasn’t so exited as I am now for a long time. I really belive, that coach Belichick will show the world, he ist he best coach ever.

Thank you very much for your time and for your trust. I hope you liked my writing. If so, please help me reach more people and share/retweet my article. Of course you can write your opinion in comment, I would love to read it. Go Pats!

Update: The world won’t wait for my article and it is moving without a break. According to multiple, official sources, James White re-signed with the Patriots. He got a one year contract which contains a fully guaranteed $2.5M salary. Because of this signing, I am very confident with our RB group, although mid- and long term there is a need for new players.

Update 2: Coach Belichick, really? Another move minutes before I put my article on the internet? So, another happy news. Lawrence Guy will sign a 4 year deal with the team, deatils are still unknown. This means, I would say the DLine is complete. The front7 will be brutal.

Update 3: The team also will sign LB/ST, LaRoy Reynolds. Details are unknown at the moment.

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