NFL FREE AGENCY

Bedard: Patriots have greatly improved (for when?), and admitted they dropped ball last 3 years with unprecedented FA haul

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Wow.

Holy cow.

Ridiculous.

Absurd.

Just a few of the words that come to mind when you think of all the Patriots have done in ... less than nine hours of free agency.

To this point, the Patriots have added...

  • Jonnu Smith, a franchise TE.
  • Matthew Judon, a franchise edge player.
  • Nelson Agholor, the best receiver on the roster who can make plays inside and outside.
  • Davon Godchaux, a bull against the run at nose tackle.
  • Kendrick Bourne, a versatile piece at receiver with some shake.
  • Jalen Mills, an experienced and versatile defensive back who can literally play any position.
  • Henry Anderson, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound piece who will be tough to move against the run.

The group cost upwards of $200 million to put together. It's virtually unprecedented in NFL annals. The only comparable avalanche of acquisitions that comes to mind is the 2011 Eagles "Dream Team": QB Vince Young, DE Jason Babin, CBs Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DT Cullen Jenkins, WRs Steve Smith and Johnnie Lee Higgins, and RB Ronnie Brown.

The Patriots are hoping they don't repeat that. The Eagles' grand experiment blew up in their faces with one playoff appearance and zero playoff wins.

Nobody has any clue what's going to happen with this Patriots group, but the Patriots are, without question, a much better team on paper today than they were on Sunday. Much still has to shake out — re-signing David Andrews and Lawrence Guy, and adding another quarterback option would be high on the list — but I very much like what the Patriots have done. A lot of these players I've admired on film and I think they fit what the Patriots like to do and are hoping to do, both on offense and defense.

But it's certainly not ideal to have to do this in one offseason. This is what happens when you hit a multi-year dry spell in the draft, and get old and slow in a lot of places.

By going all in like this, Bill Belichick is admitting that he dropped the ball the previous three-plus seasons as far as team-building, and that he was basically disgusted by what he saw on the field for much of 2020.

Both can be true. The Patriots could have done a good job of making up with their mistakes. They're not mutually exclusive.

[caption id="attachment_609769" align="aligncenter" width="1402"] (Kendrick Bourne, Jalen Mills, Henry Anderson)[/caption]

Will it mesh together for the 2021 season?