6 High-Priced Free Agents Patriots Should Target With Bill Belichick Gone

Which free agents should the New England Patriots target as they move on from Bill Belichick?

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2. Mike Evans, WR

As good as Bill Belichick was for the New England Patriots, he had one fatal flaw — the man simply couldn’t get the wide receiver position figured out. While he struck gold with slot receivers such as Wes Welker and Julian Edelman, he couldn’t find sustainable success with an outside receiver.

Sure, he had Randy Moss explode in 2007 through 2009 but outside of that, there were a lot of whiffs — like Chad Jackson and N’Keal Harry. Belichick was unable to hit with either of those picks and his latest signing was even worse.

Ahead of the 2023 campaign, Belichick agreed to terms with JuJu Smith-Schuster on a three-year deal worth $33 million. While he did have a solid season in 2022 for the Kansas City Chiefs, this was still a gamble since Smith-Schuster had been up and down for much of his career. As fate would have it, he was really down for New England.

Smith-Schuster managed to haul in a mere 29 receptions for 260 yards and just one touchdown. That’s far from what they expected and it’s hard to see him being in the plans going forward. Instead, the Patriots should take advantage of free agency and target someone such as Mike Evans.

A former first-round pick, Evans has spent the past 10 years with the Tampa Bay Bucs. He has 762 receptions for 11,680 yards with 94 touchdowns. Despite being 31, he’s showing no signs of slowing down either after going for 1,255 yards with 13 touchdowns this year. Tampa Bay would surely love to bring him back but if he hits the open market, New England should come calling.