The New England Patriots are still looking for a quarterback with less than two weeks left before the start of the 2021 NFL league year. Patriots fans, understandably, want to know who will be playing QB this season, so this week’s mailbag includes questions about Jimmy Garoppolo, Mac Jones, top wide receivers and the best way to spend $60 million.
Watch above and read below to dive in.
What is your dream off-season? Free agency, draft, etc.
I’ll put together another offseason blueprint soon, but I think the Patriots’ $60 million will go further than most people think. Keep in mind that for every player New England signs, another contract comes off the current books because of the Top 51 rule. So, if the Patriots sign a player to a veteran minimum contract, he’ll only subtract around $300,000 from New England’s $60 million in salary-cap space.
I suspect that players will not cost as much as they usually would and will be more willing to sign one-year prove it deals to cash in when the cap rises again in 2022.
New England should look to spend big at some positions, like quarterback and wide receiver, but the team also might benefit from staying patient and scooping up good values when other teams run out of money.
I know what some frequent listeners of certain Boston sports talk radio shows are thinking: “Oh great, the Patriots are going to be cheap again.”
The Patriots aren’t cheap. They’re smart. And they know they can sign more quality players if they focus on substance over style. Yes, they’ll need to make a few splash additions for big money, and they have the cap space to do that, but if they want to overhaul their roster and make the 2021 team as good as possible, then some patience will be required, as well.
Do you think this offseason has the potential to be one of the wildest of all times due to Covid?
I think it has the potential to be one of the wildest because of the lower salary cap, and that is caused by COVID-19.
I think it’s really difficult to gauge market rates for players with a lower cap. Teams have the option to backload contracts, but so many franchises have little-to-no cap space this offseason.
Some team is going to play this offseason really smart and wind up with an all-star team. The Patriots certainly have the potential to do that with so much cap space.
With all the recent veteran releases, what other big names do you see becoming available? What recent releases should the Patriots closely look at?
I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz was a cap casualty. The Eagles currently have -$43 million in cap space. Yes, that’s negative cap space. Ertz wasn’t good last season and has a $12,471,500 cap hit and $8.25 million salary.
I wouldn’t criticize a team if they traded an asset for Ertz, but general managers also obviously aren’t rushing to make a move. The smart play might be to wait to see if Ertz is cut and then try to sign him. Ertz’ $8.25 million salary is a lot to pay for a player who wasn’t healthy last season and only picked up 335 yards in 11 games.
Three other veteran players who should interest the Patriots: wide receiver Adam Humphries, tight end Kyle Rudolph and linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Humphries and Rudolph were Patriots targets in 2019, and Rudolph is interested in signing with New England. A Van Noy-Patriots reunion is also on the table.
It feels like the 49ers would be willing to trade Garoppolo to the Patriots if San Francisco could find someone cheaper (rookie? Teddy Bridgewater?) or better (Deshaun Watson?). Garoppolo is a below-average starting quarterback (no offense, Jimmy) with a $26.4 million cap hit, so that type of player might not actually be difficult to find. Garoppolo would be more valuable to the Patriots than other quarterbacks because of his knowledge of the system. He’d also be more valuable to New England than he would be to other teams for the same reason.
Golladay or Robinson #MailDoug
In a vacuum, Allen Robinson. This seems almost impossible, but Robinson is only 71 days older than Golladay despite three more years in the league. Robinson was 21 years old as a rookie, while Golladay was 24. They’ll both be 28 years old this season.
Now, if Golladay is significantly cheaper, and if that amount of money is the difference between just Robinson, or Golladay and another weapon, then I might lean towards Golladay.
Boston radio hosts would probably tell you that’s being cheap. In reality, it’s being smart.
Should the Patriots consider pursuing a RB?
If James White leaves in free agency, and if the Patriots don’t believe J.J. Taylor can ascend up to the pass-catching back role, then they might need to pursue a running back.
UCLA running back/wide receiver Demetric Felton is an interesting option in the draft. A veteran running back like Duke Johnson also could be a bridge option to a younger player.
Not a question but a comment. Let’s run it back with Cam with better weapons ✊🏿
This deserves a longer post, but weapons do matter. Just check Tom Brady’s passing stats from 2006 and then 2007 or 2013 and then 2014 or 2019 and then 2020. Would better weapons have made Cam Newton a more effective quarterback in 2020? Yes, almost certainly. Would it have made him an above-average starting quarterback? We don’t know. And it would be a risk if the Patriots simply re-signed Newton, added weapons and assumed it would make him good enough.
There is certainly a case to be made that Newton — or someone like Gardner Minshew — would allow New England to spend more money on passing-targets since they’re the most inexpensive options.
Let’s go rapid fire.
I’ve been doing a bit of research, and it looks like a Dak – Dallas resigning is about a 50/50 deal right now.
What are the odds we get our hands on him?
I think your projection might be off by a little bit — actually, a whole lot. The chances of the Patriots acquiring Prescott are slim, but it’s already been a weird offseason. It’s possible, I guess.
Assuming Dallas doesn’t Tag Dak, what are the chances the pats sign Dak and another solid FA WR?
At the very least, the Cowboys would franchise Prescott then trade him. There’s no way they’ll just let him walk for a compensatory draft pick. That would be insanity.
Do you think there’s a possibility we trade up in the draft? #MailDoug
Bill Belichick has done it before, and I believe he would do it again.
Doing what I do every March in New England: just waiting for it to get warm.
What do you predict will be Pats most surprising move this offseason?
A move that will make everyone happy.
What compensation would you require from the Pats if you were GM of the Jags for GardNah Minshew #MailDoug
A third-round pick.
I am confused is there a combine? Cause they said there isn’t one but the NFL posted 323 players who got invited to the combine. #MailDoug
There is no combine this year, but you’re right that 323 players were “invited” to the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine.
Basically, combine-invitees will just be working out and undergoing medical testing at their pro days. And the workouts and testing at pro days will be more stringent than in years past.
What are your thoughts on Edelman’s HOF case Doug? Do his playoff performances give him a chance?
I think they’re slim, but his playoff stats give him a chance. I don’t feel very strongly one way or the other. I would totally understand if he doesn’t get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame because his regular-season numbers aren’t up to snuff. I also wouldn’t think it’s ridiculous if he did get in the hall of fame, just because he was so good in the postseason when performance should matter more.
Do you think it is a foregone conclusion that Gilmore will be traded?
What unlikely move would you love to see the Pats make, but you know they won’t?
A massive trade for a quarterback either through the draft or for a veteran. I think the Patriots could be really competitive in 2021 if they traded for a quarterback and used the rest of their cap space to win now.
Historically the Pats have built overall depth and roster strength using established veterans. Will that philosophy continue or are they looking to prioritize youth now? #MailDoug
I think it will continue because of their salary cap space.
Do you agree with Cris Simms QB ranking? #maildoug
I don’t, but I don’t think he’s trolling either. I think Chris Simms genuinely believes in his rankings, and he does have a good track record.
Would the Patriots be willing to possibly taking a receiver like Jaylen Waddle with the 15th pick then trading back into the 1st for Mac Jones?
I don’t think either one of those situations is realistic. I think Waddle will be drafted earlier than 15th overall and Jones could wind up being a Top 10 pick.
Something more realistic would be taking the best available quarterback at 15th overall and then trading back into the first round for a wide receiver like Purdue’s Rondale Moore.
What do fisherman and boxers have in common?
Something about hooks?
Speaking of which, my 3-year-old daughter is obsessed with “dumb jokes” right now and makes me tell her jokes about Disney princesses when we’re driving home. So, I’m forced to just manufacture jokes on the spot.
My best so far:
What did Elsa order at the restaurant?
What’s Pocahontas’ favorite ride at Disney World?
The Poca-Haunted Mansion.
Why did Jasmine go into outer space?
She was looking for a whole new world.