The New England Patriots are in NFL’s proverbial purgatory. Once the league’s elite, the Patriots are now one of the middling teams in the NFL, lingering on the playoff bubble. They are also an afterthought when it comes to winning the AFC East with teams like the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins slated ahead.
Although the Patriots seem far off on paper entering season No. 4 sans Tom Brady, this is a team that could make the necessary steps forward to once again reclaim prominence in the AFC East.
The Patriots already hired a new offensive coordinator in the form of an old face and friend, Bill O’Brien. A bonafide OC will help the growth of Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe contrary to the disastrous run of Matt Patricia running the offense in 2022.
Below, the top three offseason moves the Patriots need to make to reclaim the AFC East will be discussed. If you think the Patriots will win the AFC East in 2023, you can bet on their NFL futures odds at all of the best Massachusetts sportsbooks using the most generous Massachusetts betting promos.
Sign A De Facto No. 1 Wide Receiver
Whether the Patriots sign, trade for, or draft one, they need to acquire a No. 1 wide receiver. Fast. The wide receiver room was neglected in recent memory. Impending free agent wideout Jakobi Meyers acted as the top dog in the room, but he is a No. 2 at best.
Re-singing Meyers would help, but they need more than what they have under contract now. Currently contracted receivers include Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton, and Ty Montgomery. Give it a rest. You will not win with that group.
Although it is a weak free agent class at wide receiver, D.J. Chark could replace Nelson Agholor as a big play field stretcher. Trading for DeAndre Hopkins would also work if the veteran wideout could find a way to work with Billy O.
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Address The Offensive Line
Entering the offseason, the Patriots have the seventh most cap space at a rough $32.4M mark. Their two best tackles, Marcus Cannon and Isaiah Wynn are both impending free agents. The Pats must re-sign one of them while finding another on the open market or early in the 2023 NFL Draft. New England has the 14th overall pick. It may seem like a reach but North Dakota State OL Cody Mauch is climbing up draft boards due to the versatility he showcased at the Senior Bowl. Mauch seems like the prototypical Patriots addition when it comes to the draft.
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Acquire Defensive Backs
The Patriots’ defense was still stout in 2022, They conceded the 11th fewest points per game (20.4). But New England’s defense is normally a top-end unit under Bill Belichick, which means there is room for improvement.
Though they were difficult to run on, the 2022 Patriots’ defensive handicap was on the back end. They were middle-of-the-pack when it comes to passing yards allowed per game (216.5). And now, Jonathan Jones, Jabrill Peppers, and Devin McCourty are impending free agents.
All three are noteworthy contributors to the Patriots’ secondary. Furthermore, McCourty is the quintessential Belichickian Patriots, but he is not getting any younger.
Bringing in veteran experience and youth would be a significant boost to a New England secondary that needs a makeover. Veteran DBs that include Eric Rowe and Jordan Poyer would make a lot of sense. Rowe is a former Patriot and recently played for the Dolphins while Poyer is an impending free agent from the Bills. Poaching talent from two AFC rivals would be ideal moves.
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