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New England Patriots 2017 NFL Offseason Needs and Preview

New England Patriots 2017 NFL Offseason Needs and Preview

NFL News and Previews

Top Offseason Needs of the New England Patriots

2016 Season Recap

An epic 25-point comeback coupled with a brutal meltdown by Atlanta made for the perfect recipe for the New England Patriots to solidify their claim as the best dynasty in football this new millennium.

There’s also virtually no further doubt that Tom Brady, who just became the only five-time Super Bowl-winning QB in NFL history, can now be regarded as the greatest quarterback of all-time. Brady even set another new Super Bowl record by amassing 466 passing yards against the Falcons in Houston, and at his not-so tender age of 39 at that.

We even haven’t gotten to talking about Bill Belichick’s own record-breaking feats as the Pats’ head coach and Brady’s partner in crime. At this point, there are too many milestones that these two soon-to-be Hall-of-Famers haven’t achieved or broken from the past season alone.

A New England repeat next year is off to a promising start already, as the team will basically have the same coaching staff from their championship core after there were talks that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could possibly take the head-coaching job in San Francisco. Oh, and Brady is far from done at terrorizing the rest of the league even if he’s approaching the big 4-0.

However, the team’s plans for its roster this coming offseason is a bigger concern considering how most Super Bowl-winning clubs of past have relatively been gutted badly for their talent by other Lombardy Trophy hopefuls.

Top Free Agency Needs

Frankly, the Patriots don’t have as many needs only found in free agency than they have players on the team right now that they’d want to keep for next season. On defense alone, the Pats have a handful of key pieces that will hit the market such as All-Pro linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive tackle Alan Branch, and defensive ends Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long.

Hightower’s the one player that New England will likely prioritize hanging on to. The 26-year-old will likely warrant a massive contract like what his former linebacking teammate Jamie Collins got from the Browns earlier this year, and he could easily demand a greater deal than Collins’ $12.5 million contract.

Not only that, but there’s still one restricted free agent that the team would pay top dollar as well. Cornerback Malcolm Butler is that other guy who’ll likely eat up a huge chunk of the Patriots’ funds being a bona fide top-tier defensive back in the league. The Pats would only have to address more problems if they don’t offer an extension to Butler and let him walk.

But despite what looks like an uphill free-agency period ahead, New England actually has a whopping $60-65 million in cap room to spare, which is sort of rare for a Super Bowl-winning team. That just goes to show how brilliant the team is not only in contract negotiations, but also on how they develop young talent from within and soon turn them into superstars before their respective values go through the roof.

Top Draft Needs

About the only surefire move that the Pats will make in the draft is to get another tight end behind Rob Gronkowski, especially with how they love to run two-tight-end formations. Gronk’s been quite the liability as the best but oft-injured weapon on the team’s offense, and his backup and pending free agent Martellus Bennett has also suffered some health setbacks himself last season.

Gronk’s too good of a player at his position to part with, which means Bennett’s likely on his way out. Then again, New England will have a ton of solid options at tight end in April. Top TE prospect O.J. Howard of Alabama will probably fly off the board before the Pats can get him with the final pick of the first round, but players like Miami’s David Njoku and UAB’s Gerald Everett are viable choices just the same.

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Written by Mark

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