New England Patriots: Evaluating Patriots offseason moves

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New England Patriots

Danny Vitale No. 45  (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

New England Patriots grade for offseason team-building evaluated after the 2020 draft.

This article will evaluate how the New England Patriots have done so far in 2020 in three critical phases of team-building: free agency, the draft, and undrafted free agency.

Team-building in the offseason is in my view the most critical determinant of an NFL football team’s likely success in that succeeding season. You build in the offseason to win in the fall and winter. A poor off-season is a very good barometer of how an NFL team will fare in the upcoming season.

Each component has a role to play in creating a team that can potentially win a Super Bowl, the ultimate goal of any season. While other teams do not have such lofty expectations, 20 years of a Tom Brady-led team have raised that expectation level for New England Patriots fans to those heights.

Now with Brady gone, the offseason team-building aspect has become that much more important. I have written previously that in the prior two decades, poor offseasons from the Patriots personnel operation have been covered up by the sheer excellence of their all-time great quarterback.

There is no such fallback position in 2020 for the Patriots. They decided that Tom Brady’s play had deteriorated to the point that they decided to let him leave in free agency.  The ultimate safety valve as I have called him is no longer there to cover up for their mistakes.

The greater part of the 2020 offseason team-building is now complete. The bulk of free agency has come and gone, though players will still be available especially after June 1 should they be cut by their teams.

Yet, the opportunities to indulge in that aspect are now very limited by cap constraints under which the New England Patriots are currently operating.  So it is not realistic to expect much relief from that pool of players though it cannot be ruled out.

In any event, three phases of the off-season have now been completed and it may be instructive to hypothesize on how the New England Patriots have fared in those aspects up to now.

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