The biggest movers and shakers in the early part of free agency are the New England Patriots.
New England, which is coming off a disappointing 7-9 season, isn’t taking what happened last year lightly. So rather than sit on its hands or kick the can down the road, the team has gone hog-wild ahead of the start of the new league year.
(1) They re-acquired offensive tackle Trent Brown in a trade with the Raiders. (2) They signed top tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry to multi-million dollar deals, hinting at the offense’s return to the Gronkowski-Hernandez days. (3) They brought in receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne to provide a boost of speed and versatility. (4) And they made upgrades throughout the defense with pass-rusher Matt Judon, defensive linemen Davon Godchaux and Henry Andeerson, and cornerback Jalen Mills.
It all points to the Patriots positioning themselves to be the most improved team in the league next year. But more important than that, it makes the 2021 Patriots-Buccaneers game must-see-TV.
Yep, one season after Tom Brady led the Bucs to a Super Bowl title, he’s returning to the house that he and Bill Belichick built for a good old-fashioned grudge match. And while I’m not saying the Patriots’ moves are being done solely with that in mind, I think we know — deep in our football souls — that Belichick wouldn’t show himself at the stadium that day fielding the same 7-9 team. Not when the defending Super Bowl champs were coming to town. And certainly not with Brady leading the charge. Nuh-uh. That wasn’t happening. Just like Brady used 2020 to prove it wasn’t all Belichick, now Belichick wants to prove it wasn’t all Brady.
One of my favorite scenes in The Simpsons’ history is when Homer and Mr. Burns fight in the cabin that gets buried in an avalanche. Homer sees Burns is backed by an army of fierce-looking snowmen, while Burns hallucinates that Homer has Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Mahatma Gahndi, Mao Zedong, and Ramses in his corner. That’s essentially what this is shaping up to be. A clash of the titans in Foxoboro. If tradition wasn’t having the defending Super Bowl champion start the season at home, I’d suggest Pats-Bucs do the honors. Heck, maybe they should just do it anyway. I’m here for the drama.