I really can’t say that i’m surprised. This happens almost every year for the Patriots. It forces us fans to play the waiting game for a few weeks, but it just makes the events over the past week feel even sweeter.
In classic Bill Belichick GM fashion, he releases, or in this case trades one of his dominant players. Chandler Jones was coming off the best season of his young career. 12.5 sacks to go along with 44 tackles. Meaning that after next season, a big value contract was expected. There’s just one problem with that… Chandler is not nearly the most important player that the Patriots would have had to sign after next season. Meaning the money would not work out. So why not test out his value on the market? Well, Belichick did. And he found a taker. On Tuesday, the Patriots traded the big name defensive end to the Arizona Cardinals, in exchange for a second round pick and a former first round pick, guard Jonathan Cooper.
And in typical Bill Belichick fashion, the Patriots went out and got a defensive piece of their own. New England signed former Ram Chris Long just hours after they let Jones walk out the door. It’s only a one year deal, and Long has had lousy numbers of late, but it’s the right move. Long is a smart football player who is going to be a great fit in the Patriots system. And the best part about it? It won’t be the end of the world if Long leaves after next season.
The Patriots made some cuts shortly after the free agency period started. The two most notable being former wide receiver Brandon Lafell and tight end Scott Chandler. Belichick didn’t want to delay replacing Lafell, so he signed former Bills wide receiver Chris Hogan. But the big move, perhaps the difference between Super Bowl or not kind of move, was made on Wednesday night. The Patriots traded for former Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, and a swap of late round picks to go along with that. If you can recall, Bennett had a pro bowl worthy 2014 season. Racking up over 90 catches with Jay Cutler as his quarterback. So basically, it’s a low risk, high reward kind of deal. And those deals are the ones that the Patriots have thrived on for the past 15 years.
It’s no secret, the Patriots are lacking in cap room. Meaning more cuts/trades are expected over the duration of free agency. And one of those cuts/trades could be receiver Danny Amendola. If the signing of Chris Hogan wasn’t the first clue, the signing of Bennett is certainly a hint. The money just isn’t there. Amendola has had a nice ride here in New England. But let me ask you, would you rather take Amendola or Bennett? Danny is gone.
Also, the Patriots signed former Chargers running back Donald Brown. Another sign that LeGarrette Blount is gone. Good. Whoever wants him can have him.