The New England Patriots can significantly improve their roster in NFL free agency this week. But free agency doesn't begin until Wednesday, and in the meantime, the Patriots watched one of their direct competitors get better over the weekend.
The Miami Dolphins acquired star cornerback Jalen Ramsey in a blockbuster trade Sunday night, reportedly sending a 2023 third-round pick (No. 77) and tight end Hunter Long to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for the six-time Pro Bowler.
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The trade gives new Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio two lockdown cornerbacks in Ramsey and Xavien Howard and creates more optimism that Miami can be a playoff contender in 2023 after a 9-8 campaign in 2022.
That's all well and good if you're a Dolphins fan, but Patriots edge defender Matthew Judon had a different read on Sunday's development.
"I mean f*ck," Judon tweeted Sunday night in reaction to the Ramsey trade.
One trade doesn't put Miami over the hump, and the Dolphins still have plenty of question marks -- namely at quarterback, where they just picked up Tua Tagovailoa's fifth-year option after he missed four games last season due to multiple head injuries.
Still, the trade puts more pressure on the Patriots to make a big splash on the free-agent or trade market. New England has the eighth-most cap space of any team entering free agency, and after an 8-9 season marked by dysfunction and a lack of offensive star power, the onus will be on Bill Belichick and the front office to make significant roster improvements -- because the Patriots' AFC East competitors have already begun that process.