This New England Patriots team needs a haircut and a makeover

New England Patriots guard Ted Karras (67) Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots guard Ted Karras (67) Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots need a roster haircut and makeover if they hope to compete with the likes of the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs for the foreseeable future.

Bill Belichick may have garnered an Executive of the Year award for his work last offseason, but there’s still plenty of work to do after the Patriots got annihilated by the Bills on Wild Card weekend.

Patriots fans can rejoice that their team made the playoffs with a rookie quarterback Mac Jones, but the thrashing by Buffalo indicates they aren’t ready for prime time just yet.

New England Patriots haircut options

The haircut the Patriots need is in pairing off numerous 2021 salaries by cutting ties with expensive free agents and others who are not good enough to keep around. This will be critical if the team intends on re-signing star cornerback J.C. Jackson and making moves for other players available in free agency.

The top two candidates amounting to about $23M on the cap are Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty. Decisions on these two players will be difficult, yet Hightower wasn’t impactful last season. He can’t be kept on anywhere near the salary he earned in 2021, and it would be a surprise to see him return to the team next season.

McCourty was fairly productive, but entering his age 36 season, he also cannot be paid anywhere near the $11M tag he got last season. Maybe a year or two at five million would work, but not much else should be shelled out for the veteran safety.

Nelson Agholor was brought in ostensibly to be a No. 1 receiver. He flopped with only 37 catches. Cutting him saves almost $5M on the cap. That’s the move to make if he’s not willing to restructure his deal.

Guard Shaq Mason needs to restructure his deal. He’s at over $10M on the cap with $3.15M in dead cap money. Trading Mason frees up about $7M. He’d fetch a solid draft pick to be used on a less costly player. That would make sense even though he’s a top player.

Ready to step in at guard, if the Patriots coaching staff is savvy enough, are Michael Onwenu and Isaiah Wynn. Onwenu can flat-out play.

Wynn is not an NFL-caliber left tackle, but he would be a good choice at guard or right tackle. Wynn can’t be released since his dead cap hit would be the same $10M or so as his salary is for the upcoming season.

Cutting defensive tackle Davon Godchaux would save $5M on the cap. He had a decent 2021 season but nothing spectacular. He can go. Christian Barmore and recently signed Daniel Ekuale can man interior line spots.

There is also plenty of additional money to be saved by cutting loose a plethora of players who had little to no impact last season and are unlikely to in the future.

These include first-round bust N’Keal Harry, second-round bust Joejuan Williams, and free agent defensive end Henry Anderson. Additionally, the two 2020 third-round draft pick tight ends, Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene, can go too. Neither has done anything during their time in New England.

New England Patriots need a makeover

The makeover will include bringing in better, faster players on both sides of the ball. On offense, the Patriots need a No. 1 receiver. They should pay for one in free agency.

There are several excellent options available. Players like Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, or maybe even JuJu Smith-Schuster will be costly, but the Patriots should go all-in on Adams or Godwin. They need that No. 1 receiver.

Also, while fans should shudder at the very thought of New England drafting a wide receiver (they can’t draft them at all), they need to surround Mac Jones with more talent.

Either wide receiver or offensive left tackle should be their first draft pick, with whichever spot they don’t fill in the first round getting filled in the second round. Taking a flier on one of two talented but injured Alabama wideouts, Jameson Williams or John Metchie III, could make sense.

Next. Top 3 players the Pats need to re-sign. dark

The Patriots should also draft that young tackle even if tackle Trent Brown is re-signed. Depth there is non-existent. Draft a top left tackle and if Brown stays and Ted Karras is re-signed, the offensive line is set.

On defense, fast cornerbacks are needed both in free agency and the draft and faster linebackers the same. The Patriots are too slow on the second and third levels.

These are a few of the haircut and makeover thoughts for the New England Patriots this offseason. What do you think they need to do?