FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts. — Brief thoughts and notes on the New England Patriots and the NFL:

1. Expenditure in its context : When Robert Kraft bought the Patriots in 1994, he paid $172 million, the highest price for a professional football team at the time.

This idea came to mind as we searched for the best way to show how unprecedented the problems of the Patriots’ current offseason are. In terms of guaranteed money, the Patriots have nearly reached the total amount Kraft used to buy the team 27 years ago.

They have guaranteed about $162.5 million for 16 of the Patriots’ 19 on-and-off signings. That excludes center Ted Karras, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, defensive tackle Montravius Adams and trade acquisition Trent Brown, as the details of their contracts are not yet known. That would break the previous NFL record of $147.2 million set by the Dolphins in 2020. The 2019 Jets, who spent $131.4 million, were No. 2 before the Patriots’ rampage.

Participants felt that this approach was strategic and necessary for inclusion in a register that had too many gaps. The strategy behind it can be summarized as follows:

  • An unprecedented offseason in which the salary cap was lowered for the first time in a decade.
  • A chance to bring in players who might not have been available if the ceiling hadn’t been tight.
  • The competition to contract these players is limited as more and more teams come to the limit.
  • The Patriots have plenty of room.
  • And the club is counting on a boost from new media contracts in the coming years.

That sounds good in theory, but here’s the hard part.

According to statistics and information from ESPN, the Patriots are the sixth team to spend more than $100 million guaranteed during the free agency period, and none of the previous five teams have won a playoff game this season. Only two of them even made it to the postseason.

But they have improved. If you look at the teams that have led Free Agency lately, they have increased their wins by more than five average next season. That would make the Patriots 12-5 at best in 2021 (assuming a 17-game season).

Still, there will be problems next year. Recent history shows that after big spending, these teams were unable to get through a second season in which they won an average of 5.5 times.

So the Patriots are trying to break recent history – in more ways than one.



Stephen A. Smith reacts to the Patriots’ approval of Hunter Henry’s hard finish, among other free agent moves.

2. The return of Jonnu: When Jonnu Smith arrives at Gillette Stadium after officially signing with the Patriots, the inside of the team’s front office will not be unfamiliar territory for him. Smith visited Foxborough in 2017 when he ran for Florida International University. The visit was probably an extra comfort to coach Bill Belichick because he had been so aggressive in his efforts for Smith. The 2017 draft was very unfortunate for Belichick. He scored several times in the third before bringing in linebacker Derek Rivers (83rd) and offensive tackle Tony Garcia (85th). Smith, on the other hand, wasn’t picked until the third round and was selected 100th overall by the Tennessee Titans – a reminder of the unpredictability of the draft.

3. Mills fits the role of Chung: The announcement of safety Patrick Chung’s retirement explains why the Patriots especially want defensive back Jaylen Mills (four years, $24 million, $9 million guaranteed) from the Philadelphia Eagles. A coach who worked closely with Mills described it this way: Super competitive. Experience in cornerstone security and operations. Lacks top speed in the corner, but combative and attacking – more of an inside player. Looks like Chung’s profile of the Patriots defense.



Adam Schefter and Louis Riddick react to the Patriots’ hiring of former Eagles linebacker Jalen Mills.

4. Jadon and Humble Pie: When the Patriots paid a high price for former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Adalius Thomas in 2007, Thomas came to New England and learned all about the humble pie Belichick served him daily. It was very different from the culture he was used to in Baltimore. Now that Patriots Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon has been heavily compensated in free agency, it will be interesting to see how Judon enjoys the same pie, given his initial reaction to veteran reporter Josina Anderson about the move to New England.

Text from Matt Judon explaining why he voted for #patriots: You chose me.

– IG: YosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 15, 2021

5. KVN, TB Liaison Office : Linebacker Kyle Van Noy’s return to the Patriots for a second term is a reminder of the importance of never burning a bridge. It also reminds me in part of what happened over a decade ago with Tully Banta-Kain, who played the same position. The Patriots liked Banta Cain (2003-06), but wished him well after he signed a 5.5 tackle, three-year, $12.2 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers in 2007. He was too rich for New England, as was Van Noy’s big contract with Miami in 2020. But when things didn’t go well for Banta Cain two years later in San Francisco, they brought him back in 2009 and he had a season of 10 sacks in his career. If the ultra-motivated Van Noy does something similar this season, it will only make the equation stronger.

6. Godchaux’s stiff: Dolphins defensive tackle Davon Godchaux wasn’t on many lists of top targets for NFL teams, but the Patriots made him a priority on day one with a two-year $15 million contract, $9 million of which is guaranteed. They are counting on him to return to form after playing just five games last season due to a torn biceps. One of the coaches who knows Godchaux well said that endurance is his main quality, he has good strength and strong arms. The coach thought it was a good idea to sign Godchaux because at 26 years old, he is in the prime of his life and destined to become the first and second option.

What you need to know about the New England Patriots:

– Shields Patriots free agent scouting: Latest articles and news
– Big moves in scoring | Top 100 FA
– Free Agency coverage | More NFL .

7. Design: North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, who was closely watched by national scout Matt Groh on his pro day last week, will be 20 years old if selected. That makes him the first NFL draftee born in 2000.

8. Kraft’s crucial role: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell praised the tremendous work and dedication of Patriots owner Robert Kraft in announcing a landmark media deal Friday that provides the NFL and its players with great stability and incredible growth opportunities over the next decade. Kraft is a longtime chairman of the league’s media committee and said the process has been one of the most enjoyable of his professional career.

9. Add a fifth: When the NFL announced the full order of the draft on Friday, the Patriots got a pleasant surprise by receiving an additional compensatory pick (fifth round, No. 177). This is the result of a correction made by the Council. After the Patriots traded Mark Cannon, a fifth and sixth round pick, to the Texans, a fourth and sixth round pick, here is the current breakdown of the team’s picks:

  • First (No. 15)
  • Second (No 46)
  • Third (No 96)
  • Fourth (No. 120)
  • Fourth (No 122)
  • Fourth (#139)
  • Fifth (No. 177)
  • Sixth (No. 188)
  • Sixth (No. 197)
  • Seventh (No 242)

10. They knew: Since his rookie season in 2009, Chung has played 6,928 regular season defensive snaps for the Patriots. The only New England player to surpass that number is Devin McCourty (10,462).

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