The New England Patriots exceeded expectations last season as they finished 10-7 in the regular season and made the playoffs; despite getting trounced by the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round.
Mac Jones showed a lot of promise in his first year, but this team is going to have to spend if they want to compete with Bills and the rest of the AFC. Now that the offseason has begun, there’s a lot of work for the front office to do in terms of going after free agents. They’re going to have to create a lot of cap space, but there are a few great free agent options, anyone of whom could help bring this team back to the postseason.
1. Re-Sign J.C. Jackson
In 2021-22, the Patriots had the second-fewest points against, behind only the Buffalo Bills.
A huge part of that was their elite secondary was 26 year old, 4th year outside corner, J.C. Jackson. Jackson got a Top 5 PFF grade for the regular season and hauled in the most interceptions in the AFC and 2nd most in the NFL behind only Trevon Diggs.
On top of that, Jackson had the most passes defended in the league, took an interception to the house and improved both his interception yards and solo tackle numbers last season.
Jackson is paramount to New England’s success as the third best secondary last season, according to PFF’s rankings, and has quickly established himself as one of the most elite man-coverage corners in the league. If the Patriots want to maintain their defensive supremacy, they’ll have to re-sign him.
2. Chris Godwin
A position the Patriots were seriously subpar in last season was at wideout. Their wide receiver No.1 Jakobi Meyers didn’t even crack top 45 in receptions, yards per reception or touchdowns and was just 33rd best in total yards.
You won’t be able to use your next generation quarterback if he doesn’t have receivers he can throw to. Granted the Patriots had great success running the ball last season, but at a certain point you need to let your quarterback throw the ball, and Godwin is a great fit for Bill Belichick’s offense.
That’s where Chris Godwin comes in. Godwin is an elite receiver who just turned 26 and played for two seasons under Tom Brady. He’s dealt with some injuries the past few years, but it hasn’t been anything that’s kept him out of action for any significant time.
Last season Godwin hauled in the 15th most yards in the league, 11th most receptions and was 7th best in yards per game all while missing 3 full games. Since 2019 he’s also 4th in the league in yards after catch.
Godwin has established himself as a consistent top 10 wideout and if the Patriots were able to free up some cap space and afford him, Mac Jones being able to throw to him would be huge for New England’s offense.
3. Emmanuel Ogbah
The Patriots defensive line is a great run-stopping front, but they struggled to get to the quarterback last season. PFF ranked them 24th in team pass-rushing and the 18th best defensive front.
A great solution would be to sign 6th year defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. Ogbah was tied for 13th most sacks in the league with 9 and 23rd most sack yards with 64. Ogbah has been an underrated member of the Dolphins’ front seven for the past two seasons, and if the Patriots were to sign him, they’d be getting a very reliable defensive end who’ll be able to improve the defense’s ability to get to opposing quarterbacks.
Not to mention, if they signed him they’d also be taking him away from a division rival.
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