Grading the Patriots' Offseason One Week In: What is the Plan in Foxborough?

2024 will be the first offseason in over two decades without Belichick at the helm, and the new-look Patriots have quite a bit of work to do.

Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo (L) and owner Robert Kraft
Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo (L) and owner Robert Kraft / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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Key re-signings:

Dec 17, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots guard Mike Onwenu (71) lines up
Dec 17, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots guard Mike Onwenu (71) lines up / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots re-sign Kendrick Bourne on a 3 year, $19.5 million contract ($33m maximum)

Bourne may not put up the flashiest numbers, but he's a dependable, consistent wide receiver. Throughout three years in New England, he posted 1640 yards and 10 touchdowns on 127 receptions despite missing the last nine games of the 2023 season with a torn ACL. The Eastern Washington product is versatile, and can play in the slot, outside the numbers, and contributing as a downfield run blocker when called upon to do so.

Giving him this contract signals two things: that the Patriots expect him to make a full recovery from his knee surgery, and that they want him to play a bigger role in the offense going forward. I don't mind either of these things, personally - I have full confidence in his ability to bounce back from his first major injury, and he's shown me enough promise to gain more responsibility. A guarantee of $6.25 million annually is a sizable investment, but if he makes good on his abilities, it'll look like a bargain. It's not a flashy move, but if he recovers well, it's a step in the right direction.

Grade: B-

Patriots re-sign TE Hunter Henry on a 3 year, $27 million contract ($30m maximum)

Henry has been everything you'd want from a tight end since he arrived in Foxborough three years ago: energetic, fairly productive, and a big, warm personality that fit this locker room seamlessly. With that being said, I don't necessarily love this deal; Henry will be 30 by the time it begins, and a $27 million guarantee is steep for an aging tight end who's suffered two different season-ending injuries in his career. Even if he remains healthy, is that level of financial commitment worth it for a guy who's broken 515 receiving yards just once as a Patriot?

On the flip side, it's similar to the Bourne contract - it'll provide the offense with some continuity and Henry's presence will help whoever ends up quarterbacking this team. I can't knock it too much.

Grade: C+

Patriots re-sign OL Mike Onwenu on a 3 year, $58 million contract ($38m guaranteed)

I'm a firm believer that games are won and lost in the trenches; the best teams in football tend to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Re-signing Onwenu shows that the Patriots are committed to winning those battles, as the veteran has been nothing short of elite since he arrived in New England from Michigan four years ago. Onwenu can, and does, play every position on the line; his tenure with the Patriots has seen him play every role except center.

His contract isn't cheap, but securing one of the NFL's better linemen was never going to be, and protecting the next QB will be invaluable. Not to mention, just $38 million is guaranteed; if, for whatever reason, Onwenu's production falls off a cliff, the contract becomes much less of an albatross. At the end of the day, they retained the services of one of the NFL's best for years to come - even when taking cost into consideration, it's hard to find much of an issue here.

Grade: A-

Patriots re-sign DE Josh Uche on a one year, $3 million contract

This deal jumps off the page; the 25-year old recorded 14.5 sacks over the past two seasons, and emerged as a key piece of a good Patriots defense in 2023. Uche had suitors around the league - in a surprising move, he turned down significant money from other teams in order to sign a cheap, one-year contract to stay in New England. Uche can be penciled into a starting DE spot next year, and his production should easily outstrip his $3 million price tag. Getting him for this money is a coup that'll help kickstart the new Patriots regime.

Grade: A+