New England Patriots: Have Pats thrown in the towel on the 2021 season?

Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The 2021 New England Patriots now sit at the bottom of the AFC East with only a few non-moves by the coaching staff keeping them from being in first place tied with the Buffalo Bills. Go figure.

To make matters worse, this week the team traded the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore, to the Carolina Panthers for a massive return of a 2023 sixth-round pick.

No way this space is going to try to rationalize that move. Any arguments about salary caps, signing Jamie Collins, or anything else along those lines, is pure poppycock.

And the Gilmore move is only one inexplicable move (or non-move) this team has made to date this season. One set of moves is glaring and it says here has cost them two games. See below.

So, in light of all this, it’s reasonable to ask; has team has already thrown in the towel on the 2021 season? With the way they are handling the first four games, it may just be so.

New England Patriots stubbornness remains costly

The most nonsensical of these non-moves was not moving Michael Onwenu into the right tackle spot after Trent Brown went out early and not moving Ted Karras to his left guard position.

This space is firmly convinced that their record could very well have been reversed from 1-3 to 3-1 if they had made these moves.

These moves were as clear as the nose on one’s face, so to speak. The replacements for Brown at right tackle have been awful.

They would be Justin Herron and Yasir Durant. And Karras, a talented starter-grade interior lineman brought back to the New England Patriots as a free agent, hardly plays at all.

Yet, for some inexplicable reason, Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels persist in not making the seemingly two very logical moves cited above.

New England Patriots trade of Stephon Gilmore is preposterous

Now, with the unloading of Gilmore for pennies on a million dollars, they have called their entire strategy for the season into question.

It may not in any way be foolish to ask just what the heck are they doing and if they have already thrown in the towel on this season?

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Otherwise, how can you justify giving Gilmore away for a lousy sixth-round pick, a proverbial bag of footballs? It makes no sense whatsoever.

And, the Gilmore move is even more dumbfounding since they have treated their now best remaining cornerback, J.C. Jackson, with complete disrespect.

Jackson can leave after the season as a free agent (absent a franchise tag of mega-millions) essentially leaving them without the two best cornerbacks they fielded the past three years.

Don’t blame him if he does. He should have been signed at least after his second season to a multi-year extension. That’s bad personnel management folks and this outfit is known for them.

Maybe someone out there has an answer to these confounding non-moves and this recent move by a personnel operation that seems at times to be its own worst enemy.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has to step in, again

The saving grace for this past offseason was the uncharacteristic intervention of the team’s owner, Mr. Robert Kraft, into the personnel situation. Keep in mind, this never happens in Foxborough.

Yet, Mr. Kraft, obviously smarting at the completely senseless dispatching of the best quarterback ever (in which he deserves significant blame himself) made it clear he wanted results.

Kraft opened his checkbook to the tune of about $159M guaranteed dollars. We’ll see how that balances out at the end of the season.

He also made one other “request” let’s say to the personnel operation. That was to bring in a quarterback upon which to build the next generation of success.

They actually did that in the draft and luckily once again stumbled onto a goldmine in the person of one young Mac Jones.

Yet, even the heroics of this young quarterback absent an offensive line and a more discerning coaching staff can’t prevent them from bottoming out.

If they had demonstrated even a modicum of sensibility, this team could very well be on its way to a playoff-bound season, or more.

OK, it may be a bit on the silly and premature side to suggest they have completely thrown in the towel on the season this early.

Yet, they seem to be unwilling up to this point to do anything internally to rectify their obvious shortcomings on the offensive line. They need a trade for a top lineman.

And, now, to compound that mistake, they have sent one of their best defensive players in Stephon Gilmore packing (as they did Tom Brady) for nothing.

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So the hope and actual wish here is this; that Mr. Kraft will step in now before it’s too late to possibly salvage this season.

Hopefully, Mr. Kraft will “suggest” that the Patriots make the requisite moves to shore up a dismal offensive line and get Mac Jones a star to throw to. Please. After all, it’s your team, Mr. Kraft.

If not soon, it will be too late even for Mr. Kraft to rectify this situation. And this team will be looking up at the Bills, Miami Dolphins, and possibly, oh my, even the New York Jets, by season’s end. Ouch.