What’s Next for the Patriots

Simon Bleier '24, Contributing Writer

After a severely disappointing season, the Patriots are now looking to the next one. 

The organization has expressed its devotion to Mac Jones, which is the smart choice. However, if Jones does not produce, his career in New England will likely be over soon.

The offense was the Pats’ biggest weakness last year, and looking at the roster, I see two positions that need to be addressed this offseason: wide receiver and tackle. The wide receiving corps has good depth, the problem is the players that make up the “depth” are mediocre. We have seen great things out of Jakobi Meyers, but that’s about it. The rest of the receivers have seldomly impacted games and have become liabilities in certain situations as they struggled to get open. 

I would not be surprised to see the Patriots use their 14th pick on a wide receiver. Unfortunately, the team’s first-round wide receiver track record is awful at best, so I’d prefer we stay away from the position until later rounds, especially with this deep and talented class. 

Additionally, there is not too much talent in free agency at the wide receiver position. The Patriots have two of their own becoming free agents: Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers. Before they head to the market, the Pats must re-sign Meyers. Agholor had a very underwhelming season, so I’m okay with him leaving New England. The Patriots would most likely look to the trade block to find an impactful receiver. According to Jordan Shultz of The Score, Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been rumored to be available for trade. The Patriots are a perfect landing spot for the Arizona star; Hopkins would lead the wide receiver corps on a team that has strong playoff aspirations with a talented quarterback. There are many directions the Pats could go to improve their air attack, but if one thing is certain, they need to make a splash this offseason.

Along with Mac Jones needing some help in terms of who to throw the ball to, he also needs some protection in the backfield. The tackle position was easily the worst position on the field for the team. The combination of Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn is something that I hope to never see again. Brown allowed nine sacks and ten QB hits throughout the season. Wynn only played in nine games due to injury and allowed five sacks. Both players were among the most penalized at the position: Brown was penalized nine times, and Wynn was penalized eight times. Brown is still under contract for the next season, but Wynn will be a free agent, and I would be very surprised if Wynn suits up for the Patriots again.

The market for tackles this off-season is fairly scarce, but there is some talent in the likes of Orlando Brown Jr. and Eric Fisher. Brown Jr. will be pricey, but the Patriots need to address the position. In a dream scenario, the Patriots would pick up Brown Jr. in free agency, trade Trent Brown for some draft capital, and use one of their picks to take another tackle. This scenario would hopefully address the Patriots’ worst position and lead to a stronger offensive attack.

The biggest question heading into the offseason revolves around the coaching staff: Who will be the offensive coordinator? This past season the Patriots were scrutinized for not having an offensive coordinator but instead an “offensive assistant” who called the plays. The Patriots have explicitly stated that they will hire an offensive coordinator, and frankly, I’m not as concerned as other people about which coach will fill that role. I would prefer Bill O’Brien, who is familiar with Belichick and this Patriot offense, but anyone is an upgrade from Patricia.

This offseason will be extremely important for the Patriots and their future. I hope they fill in their holes on offense and find themselves an effective offensive coordinator. If the Patriots do these two things, this team can be a contender for the Lombardi next season.