UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Off-season needs assuming Tom Brady returns

This is going to be arguably the most bizarre off-season for fans of the New England Patriots, as it will be the first time Tom Brady will be entering free agency. The Pats’ off-season needs will be largely contingent on whether Brady re-signs with the team or not. If he leaves, the number one need will undoubtedly be the Quarterback position; however, if he stays, there are a plethora of different needs the Patriots should assess in the off-season. So, just for fun, assuming Brady does decide to stay in New England, what will the Patriots need to improve to ensure that they will be back to championship form?

Offensive Line

After losing their starting left tackle, Trent Brown, just one year ago, the Patriots seem to be in a rough situation when it comes to their offensive line. Starting left guard Joe Thuney is up for what will likely be a pretty lucrative contract in free agency that the Pats probably won’t be willing to pay. Also, recent rumors have said that starting right tackle Marcus Cannon is retiring; however, that rumor was confirmed to be false, but many could wonder why that information got out if he wasn’t already considering retirement. Either way, do not be surprised if the Pats use a high draft pick on an offensive lineman this upcoming draft.

Wide Receiver and Tight End

All year long, the Patriots biggest issue seemed to be that Brady and his newer receivers had some sort of disconnect. The only receiver that had any consistent production was Julian Edelman, who had a career best 1,117 receiving yards this season; however, he also led the league in drops this season, so it is clear that Brady was throwing a lot his way. The Patriots have been rumored to have interest in Stefon Diggs and AJ Green, so it is easy to see that the Pats are looking to add some veterans to the receiving core.

As for the tight end position, the Patriots struggled this season to find a reliable fit. For most of the season, Matt Lacosse was the main option, but he only caught 13 passes for 131 yards all season. That is obviously a massive drop off at the position after just losing Rob Gronkowski the year before. I believe the Patriots should look into a player like Hunter Henry in free agency and Thaddeus Moss in the draft who should be available in the early-middle rounds.

Running Back

The Patriots are not in dire need of a running back; however, Sony Michel had a down season as a short-yardage running back. The Patriots could look in house at a player like Damien Harris to help in short-yardage situations or even the draft. Other than that, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Michel has a bounce back season after what looked like a sophomore slump a year ago.

It is clear that there is a trend with these positions of need: they are all on offense. Last season the Patriots really struggled on offense, especially in the red zone. The Patriots should completely cater their off-season needs to Brady, especially considering he will be 43 years old entering the 2020 season. Making sure Brady is comfortable with his offensive weapons and his offensive line is vital to the team’s future success. Especially considering it was Brady’s lack of comfort with his weapons that caused the abrupt ending to the 2019 season.

About the Contributor
Jonathan Hopkins, Sports Editor