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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The New England Patriots are rapidly getting worse

Bianca Oppedisano
Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff

If you were expecting Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots to dish out money in free agency as they did a year ago, think again. Not only have the Patriots made little effort signing good free agents, but they have also shown that they are very OK with letting go some of their best players. So, it is safe to say that unless Belichick has something deep up his sleeve for the coming days or weeks, it appears that New England will only be getting worse in 2022.

First off, the Patriots were unwilling to give J.C. Jackson, a marquee cornerback, $16.5 million, which is arguably an under-market contract for him. Right now, the Patriots’ best cornerback is Jonathan Jones, but he is only a slot corner. Other than that, the Patriots have Terrance Mitchell, Joejuan Williams and Jalen Mills, who have all shown they are not close to becoming a number one corner. So, unless the Patriots assess the corner position in the draft, they could be in big trouble come September.

The next glaring issue with the Patriots that only seems to be getting worse is their offensive line. In just this past week, New England lost both their starting guards, Ted Karras and Shaq Mason. They are also running the risk of losing their starting right tackle Trent Brown. With Mac Jones entering just his second season as starting quarterback, not having a good solidified offensive line could be problematic.

Another position that the Patriots clearly struggled with a season ago was the wide receiver position. New England tried improving their receiving corps a year ago by adding Nelson Agholor along with Kendrick Bourne. Bourne has proven to be a solid receiver, but Agholor took a massive step back and was a virtual non-factor in 2021. The Patriots need a true number one receiver and Jakobi Meyers and Bourne just aren’t going to cut it. For a quarterback who was used to throwing to top tier receivers at Alabama, it would benefit him greatly if they can add an explosive receiver in free agency or the draft. As of right now, there aren’t many receivers remaining in free agency aside from maybe Julio Jones and Cole Beasley, so the draft might be the best course of action.

The middle linebacker position has also been an area of need for the Patriots this offseason. New England traded Chase Winovich to the Cleveland Browns for Mack Wilson who plays middle linebacker. Although Wilson has the potential to start, he likely isn’t going to make a big difference in the middle of a defense that is already thin. There are some guys still available in free agency, like Bobby Wagner, or their own Dont’a Hightower, but with both of those guys in their thirties, the Patriots could look to the draft to fill out the middle of their defense.

As of right now, the Patriots look like they are in trouble. It seems that everyone in the American Football Conference got significantly better, whereas the Patriots have taken a step back. With the Buffalo Bills getting even better and the AFC West becoming a loaded division, I would expect the Patriots to miss the playoffs if the season started right now.

About the Contributor
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator