Bill Belichick completely changed the complexion of the New England Patriots in a few short weeks this offseason.
After free agency and the NFL Draft, this roster is locked and loaded … but there’s still room for a few improvements.
The biggest need at the moment? A true No. 1 receiver.
The offense doesn’t have one. Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne and N’Keal Harry don’t provide the necessary traits.
And it’d be a great help to Cam Newton (and eventually Mac Jones) if the receiving corps boasted those aforementioned guys and …
Julio Jones? We’ve talked about this before, but the trade rumors are still rumbling, and we can’t help but look at the Pats and view this as an awesome fit. Apparently, ESPN can’t, either.
Patriots Rumors: Is the Julio Jones buzz heating up?
Here’s what ESPN’s Michael Rothstein wrote:
“With around $16.5 million in cap space, the Patriots would have the room to make a deal. Bill Belichick has shown no concerns going after top players this offseason in free agency, and he has made trades to acquire players – particularly wide receivers. Remember, this is a franchise that traded for Randy Moss and Wes Welker in 2007 and Brandin Cooks in 2017. Plus, Belichick made a move for Corey Dillon in 2004. So the Patriots have made moves for playmakers in the past. While New England did sign Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in free agency, Jones is another class of receiver and would give veteran Cam Newton and rookie Mac Jones a high-level target every down.”
Jones’ three-year, $66 million extension is about to kick in, and the Patriots have the necessary cap space to absorb his cap hits over that timeframe … though they’ll have to convert some of his $23 million into a signing bonus to make this work.
Plus, this will take a while to materialize given the financial implications here. If the Falcons wait until after June 1 to trade him, they save $15 million against the cap. So perhaps the Patriots can figure out how they’d fit Jones into their plans with at least another three weeks to think about it.
Sure, this is a move that more of a “win-now” Super Bowl contender would make, but the Patriots’ rushing attack and stout defense always has this team competing. Jones immediately changing the dynamic of the (one could say) vanilla Patriots offense and a roster led by Belichick could really threaten the Bills for supremacy in the division. That’s the first step.
What else is notable is the fact that the buzz continues to surround the Pats. Their impactful and loud offseason did not go unnoticed by insiders and analysts, which means maybe there’s one more blockbuster left in the tank.