The New England Patriots Are Blowing Money Fast Like Rick Ross in Free Agency and Finally Have a Tight End!
The new league year may not officially begin until Saint Patrick's Day, but we are deep into the "legal tampering period" where teams can announce signings of players they definitely hadn't made contact with until today.
Since losing Gronk to retirement, then trade, the Patriots have had hands down the worst tight end production in the league. Over the last two seasons, Patriot tight ends have the fewest receptions (55), receiving yards (673), targets (87), and receiving touchdowns (3) in the NFL (h/t ESPN). With third-round picks Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keane being question marks at best going forward, the Patriots will have stability at the position after making a huge splash to start free agency by addressing perhaps the biggest hole on this roster (tight end) giving the 2nd wealthiest free-agent contract in franchise history to former Tennessee Titans Tight End, Jonnu Smith.
To the tune of "Bubbly" by Colbie Calliat, "I think Bill's had his eyes on Jonnu for a while now".
After the team announced on Friday thatCam Newton is coming back on a one-year contact, the Patriots have signed one of the biggest names available in free agency; giving Cam that needed security blanket that this offense desperately missed last season. If you look at Smith's numbers over the last four seasons in Tennessee you aren't going to be blown away, but they don't tell the whole story.
Smith was the Titans second tight end behind Delanie Walker his first season and had five touchdowns in the first four games of this season before injuring his ankle. Once Taylor Lewan was lost for the season, Jonnu took on a bigger role in the run-blocking game. Smith helped lead the way to Derrick Henry's back-to-back rushing titles, including a 2000 yard season. Speaking of Lewan, he was singing Jonnu's praises as he leaves the Music City.
Look at what this man can do in space!
The amount of cap space the Patriots have while the rest of the league is forced to make tough decisions with the cap going down has been discussed ad nauseam this offseason, but it looks like the Pats going to be a GREAT spot financially going forward; even with the assumed risks of all these signings.
We knew they were going to reload, but they aren't wasting any time as three other signings have been announced while I've been working on this blog; addressing multiple areas of need.
Once Drew Brees officially retired, the Saints, who have negative cap space signed Taysom Hill to a four-year $140 million deal that can be voided at any moment. It's pretty clear the salary cap can be manipulated. After historically being one of the most frugal teams in the NFL, the Patriots are going on a new money spending-spree.
I am a little apprehensive about seeing the Patriot sign a "former Eagles DB" knowing how bad their secondary was, but it's exciting to see the Patriots be so aggressive on the Free Agent market for once, even if I wish they were doing while TB12 was located in Patriot Place.
I think Jonnu Smith is going to be a monster in this offense and put up great numbers if he can stay healthy. I like adding Godchaux to help sure up a defensive line that got gashed by guys like Jeff Wilson last season. Matthew Judon does give me a little Adalius Thomas PTSD, but he instantly improves the Patriots pedestrian pass rush. No idea what to think about Jalen Mills, his PFF grade was okay, but like I said, Eagles DB scares me. It probably means Stephon Gilmore is getting traded. Hopefully, they can hold on to JC Jackson. I still expect to see the Patriots add a WR. Bill is buzzed and ready to spend!