Some years, the Patriots start fast in free agency.
Some years they are more … laconic.
This year (and it’s worth mentioning again that we aren’t even a full day into official free agency), they are letting the game come to them.
Not entirely. The Michael Bennett trade – even if it wasn’t a signing – is a transaction brought about by the start of the new league year.
And the failed pursuit of Adam Humphries, which reportedly became more urgent when the team realized Humphries was going to the Tennessee Titans, showed they were moderately busy during the “tampering” phase.
But urgent pleas that the team DO SOMETHING!! could be easily countered with, “Well, what do you have in mind?”
The two biggest positions of need – wide receiver and tight end – didn’t offer players who move the needle.
(Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham? I guess. But that’s a conversation that goes beyond mere player acquisition and – as such – doesn’t fit here).
Even Humphries was a questionable target, but because of the dearth of wideout options on the market and their realization that “Holy crap, we don’t have any receivers!” the Patriots were inclined to bump their offer to trump the Titans' four-year, $36M deal.
Didn’t work. Consider that a bullet dodged.
I mean, watch these highlights of Humphries. Watch these highlights of Julian Edelman. Humphries is closer to Chris Hogan than he is to Edelman. Humphries would have fit the slot receiver suit and – for almost $10M per year – ya gotta do more than that.
Second-wave free agency? That’s something the Patriots are inclined to dive into, and they dove head-first on Thursday afternoon.
You want wide receivers? Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris, check. How about a tight end? Matt LaCosse is a Patriot. Help for the defensive line? Meet Mike Pennel. Special teams, you ask? Terrence Brooks, welcome to New England.
The player acquisition window just opened. First-wave free agency is gone. It’s the second wave now. The next one to come when this peters out is the pre-draft trade market. Then there’s the draft and even more chance to swap picks and/or veteran players.
There’s plenty of time. Which is good, because there’s plenty of need at a few prime spots. The Patriots have shifted from just having a line in the water to actively fishing.
We’ll see what they net.
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