New England Patriots free agency grade

Notable additions:

Stephon Gilmore – Cornerback – From: Buffalo Bills

Brandin Cooks – Wide Receiver – From: New Orleans Saints

Dwayne Allen – Tight End – From: Indianapolis Colts

Lawrence Guy – Defensive End – From: Baltimore Ravens

Rex Burkhead – Running Back – From: Cincinnati Bengals

 

Notable subtractions:

Logan Ryan – Cornerback – To: Tennessee Titans

Jabaal Sheard – Defensive End – To: Indianapolis Colts

Martellus Bennett – Tight End – To: Green Bay Packers

Barkevious Mingo – Outside Linebacker – To: Indianapolis Colts

 

Analysis:

The Patriots lost Logan Ryan who was a key part of their secondary last season, but New England made a major addition to their secondary when they paid a whopping 5-year/$65 million contract to sign cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The Patriots definitely overpaid for Gilmore, yet he is a shutdown corner that had 5 interceptions with the Bills last season. There is no doubt that he makes this defense better, although giving out a massive contract in free agency isn’t typically the Patriots style. Also, losing tight end Martellus Bennett isn’t ideal, but he would have cost too much as a backup which is why it was smart for the Patriots to move on from him. However, they did a good job in finding a replacement for him as they acquired Dwayne Allen from the Colts via trade. Allen is an extremely athletic tight end that underachieved with Indianapolis, yet he will add another threat to the Patriots passing game. I also really like the addition of wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the Saints. New England did pay a steep price in order to get Cooks as they gave up a 1st round pick to the Saints in the trade. However, it is tough to find a player as talented as Cooks late in the 1st round of the draft, so it was a trade that is probably worth the risk for the Patriots. Cooks has had over 1,100 yards the past 2 seasons with the Saints and he brings a deep threat that New England hasn’t had in awhile. If Cooks stays healthy, then the Patriots passing offense will be almost impossible to stop. The only big concern that I have for the Patriots right now is with their pass rush. New England did sign defensive end Lawrence Guy in free agency, but he is nothing more than  a depth addition. Expect the Patriots to address their need for a pass rusher early on in the draft, but either way New England is still the top contender for the super bowl in 2017.

Grade: B+

stephon gilmore

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