NFL Execs on Patriots: ‘Looks pretty grim’

Andy Hart
April 01, 2020 - 1:10 pm

A couple weeks into free agency a lot has changed in New England.

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Tom Brady is no longer the Patriots quarterback, taking the opportunity in free agency to head south to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after 20 years in Foxborough.

That certainly changes the foundation of the Patriots roster as well as the outside perceptions and expectations for Bill Belichick’s team.

The Athletic took a look at all 32 teams’ efforts to this point in free agency and the team-building process, collecting comments from anonymous coaches and executives from around the league as to what’s going in each NFL city these days.

“You never want to count them out, but it looks pretty grim now,” one unnamed exec told The Athletic of the Patriots. “People liked [Jarrett> Stidham coming out, so that will be interesting. I would think they are filling the roles they need on defense and they know the quarterback is going to make the offense go and they are not going to force it. They are not going to hamstring themselves with some player they do not love that they have to commit to. They would rather just be flexible with it, which is actually a similar approach to the one Miami is taking.”

The Athletic apparently found a varied collection of opinions regarding Brady’s departure from New England and the Patriots’ decision to let him move on.

“They created the environment that forced Brady to leave,” one executive told The Athletic.

Still, it doesn’t sound like many would be betting against Belichick’s ability to win in New England without Brady.

“When they let guys leave, a lot of times those guys don’t do much,” another executive told The Athletic. “I tend to believe in the coach who won six Super Bowls. The guy is pretty sharp. I just think he’d rather get rid of a player a year early than a year late, rather than lock in for two years. I wouldn’t be surprised if they won the division, even though it looks on paper like they have no chance.”

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