It was clear that the Patriots would suffer a bit after Tom Brady left, but they really didn’t help themselves with their long term planning either.
They went into this season with virtually no cap room, a rookie QB who mainly throws INTs, absolutely no tight end play and the only receiver of note was the remnants of Julian Edelman.
Signing Cam Newton looked like a masterstroke and everything looked fine for the first few weeks, but it’s all started to come crashing down and a dismal losing season seems inevitable.
It even sounds like Bill Belichick is resigned to his fate this year, as he made an interesting admission about the state of the franchise:
Bill Belichick on @OMFonWEEI: "I mean, look, we paid Cam Newton $1 million. It’s obvious that we didn’t have any money. It’s nobody’s fault. That’s what we did the last five years. We sold out. We won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth and played in an AFC Championship Game." pic.twitter.com/5LGeUboNGA
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) November 2, 2020
The line about it being nobody’s fault is the stand out there, because you can argue that it’s very much his own fault.
The Pats have drafted poorly in recent years, with a mixture of dreadful 1st round picks and losing other picks due to the Deflategate nonsense.
Sony Michel did help them to their most recent Super Bowl but he struggles to break any tackles, while N’Keal Harry looks like a total waste of a first round pick.
The defence and Brady carried them last year but it was an ageing unit, so a massive rebuilding job will need to be done.
It might not be a total disaster in Boston because they look set to have one of the highest amounts of free cap next season, while they are well on the way to securing a high draft pick too.
It’s remarkable to hear Belichick talk like this when he always preaches a mantra of competing and doing your job, but the short term hit could be worth the long term gain for the franchise.