The Patriots typically don’t spend a bunch of money in free agency. This year, they uncharacteristically did.
Meeting with reporters on Thursday, coach Bill Belichick was asked whether the spending spree reflects an indication that they didn’t surround Cam Newton with enough talent in 2020.
“Well again, the process this offseason was to, as it always is, to try to improve the team and do everything we can to make ourselves as competitive as we can this year, which is what we try to do every year,” Belichick said. “We had several years in free agency where we were one of the least cash spending teams in the league and then this year that changed and balanced it off. That’s really what you have in the NFL — teams that don’t spend then spend and teams spend and then there are years when they don’t spend. It averages out over a period of time and that’s part of the averaging process came this year. But ultimately, we’re trying to do what we can to improve the team like we do every year and that’s what we’re going to continue to do as we work through the draft process and other team-building opportunities that may or may not come along during the season but I’m sure there will be others somewhere along the line. We will evaluate those when they present themselves.”
He’s right about the averaging process, but the Patriots have never been on the side of writing big checks for veteran players. This year, a lack of talent combined with a huge amount of cap space to allow the Patriots and Belichick to make a move or two or eight or nine.
Whether it works remains one of the most interesting questions of the 2021 NFL season. With the book closed on the team that won six Super Bowls from 2001 through 2018, can they get back there without Tom Brady at quarterback? We’ll find out starting this year, when the opponents include among others Brady’s Buccaneers.