The Patriots are usually a team that doesn’t crack a single headline in the first week of free agency, but New England utilized a completely different strategy this particular offseason.
Instead of being invisible, the Patriots actually dominated headlines — starting on day one.
We all know the Patriots have coveted tight ends in the past, but the amount of money they recently allocated to the two top players at the position takes their usual strategy to another level. The Patriots signed Jonnu Smith to a four-year, $50 million deal just an hour into the NFL’s tampering period, and they followed that up with a three-year, $37.5 million contract for Hunter Henry.
The spending didn’t stop there, either. In fact, they’ve already doled out an NFL-record $165 million in guaranteed money. It was so surprising that team owner Robert Kraft even explained the team’s thinking behind the spending spree.
“What happened here last year was not something to our liking,” Kraft said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “We had to make the corrections. In all the businesses we’re involved in, we try to take advantage of inefficiencies in the market. We were in a unique cap situation this year, and it allowed us to try to [fix] things we missed, to a certain extent, in the draft. So this was our best opportunity.”
“In the end, if you want to have a good, consistent, winning football team, you can’t do it in free agency. You have to do it through the draft. I don’t feel we’ve done the greatest job the last few years and I really hope, and I believe, I’ve seen a different approach this year.”
A different approach, indeed. But will the spending spree actually translate to a return to the playoffs? Time will tell.