After missing the playoffs in 2020 for the first time in 11 seasons, the New England Patriots spent that offseason getting back into the playoffs last season. The Patriots did not have as many splashy moves this offseason, as they are still in another re-tooling season.
Improvements: DeVante Parker
The New England Patriots started a new era for the team under now second-year quarterback Mac Jones. However, the team invested in tight ends the last offseason, signing lower-end free agents at wide receiver. Jones did not have the receiving talent to capitalize on his rookie seasons fully.
DeVante Parker is hype about his new QB pic.twitter.com/WhlbUqsjBs
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) April 21, 2022
The Patriots traded a third-round pick to acquire DeVante Parker from the Miami Dolphins this offseason, which adds talent to their receiving core. The former 14th pick in 2015 will be 29 and has struggled with injuries in recent years. On the other hand, in 2019, he exploded for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. Parker is a clear upgrade talent-wise for the Patriots receiver room.
Stayed the same: The offensive line
Year after year, the Patriots have one of the better offensive lines, and that will continue in 2022. Starting tackle Trent Brown signed a new contract for two more years. However, they did lose two quality interior linemen, letting Ted Karras walk in free agency and trading Shaq Mason to the Tampa Buccaneers.
After losing proven talent, the Patriots used the draft to retool. They selected Cole Strange in the first round, which might be a reach but he could be a plug-and-play starter. They also spent their sixth- and seventh-round picks on the offensive line while having a track record of turning late picks into quilty players.
Got worse: Cornerback
Throughout the Bill Belichick era, the team has prided itself on defense and having elite cornerbacks. With that being said, as a franchise, they have stayed firm on the idea of not overpaying players. J.C. Jackson this offseason has been a casualty of that thinking, signing a massive contract with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Kyle Dugger will need to step up as the replacement top corner, but free-agent signings Malcolm Butler and Terrance Mitchell are older and do not fill the hole left by Jackson. The Patriots did use their third and fourth-round pick on corners, which can make an impact this season.
The New England Patriots did address their biggest weakness at wide receiver. However, losing a pivotal piece to the defense in Jackson is a massive hit, and there are question marks around the Patriots’ draft. It just seems like the Patriots did not do enough to get past the Buffalo Bills or even the Miami Dolphins, who got a lot better.
- Week 1: 9/11 at Dolphins, 1:00 p.m., CBS
- Week 2: 9/18 at Steelers, 1:00 p.m., CBS
- Week 3: 9/25 vs Ravens, 1:00 p.m., FOX
- Week 4: 10/2 at Packers, 4:25 p.m., CBS
- Week 5: 10/9 vs Lions, 1:00 p.m., FOX
- Week 6: 10/16 at Browns, 1:00 p.m., CBS
- Week 7: 10/24 vs Bears (Monday), 8:15 p.m., ESPN
- Week 8: 10/30 at Jets, 1:00 p.m., CBS
- Week 9: 11/6 vs Colts, 1:00 p.m., CBS
- Week 10: BYE
- Week 11: 11/20 vs Jets, 1:00 p.m., CBS
- Week 12: 11/24 at Vikings (Thanksgiving), 8:20 p.m., NBC
- Week 13: 12/1 vs Buffalo (Thursday), 8:15 p.m., Amazon Prime Video
- Week 14: 12/12 at Cardinals (Monday), 8:15 p.m., ESPN
- Week 15: 12/18 at Raiders (Sunday), 8:20 p.m., NBC
- Week 16: 12/24 vs Bengals (Saturday), 1:00 p.m., CBS
- Week 17: 1/1 vs Dolphins, 1:00 p.m., CBS
- Week 18: 1/7 or 8, at Bills, TBD, TBD