Quantity hasn’t been an issue for the New England Patriots in NFL free agency.
What about quality?
The Patriots, who recently re-signed quarterback Cam Newton, splurged Monday, the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period, reportedly agreeing to contracts with seven external free agents: tight end Jonnu Smith, wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, edge rusher Matt Judon, defensive back Jalen Mills, defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and defensive lineman Henry Anderson.
With rumors continuing to swirl, the Patriots might not be done as they look to bolster their roster ahead of the 2021 season. ESPN NFL reporters Jeremy Fowler, Dan Graziano and Kevin Seifert have been grading some of the league’s biggest free agent signings on the fly, however, taking into account contract terms, money numbers, player value and age, as well as history.
Here’s how ESPN graded the Patriots’ most noteworthy deals thus far, ranked from the highest mark to the lowest:
QB Cam Newton: A
WR Nelson Agholor: B+
TE Jonnu Smith: B+
TE Hunter Henry: B
OLB Matt Judon: B
DB Jalen Mills: C+
Obviously, it’s still too early to fully assess New England’s offseason, especially with the 2021 NFL Draft on the horizon. The Patriots wasted no time in addressing their most glaring needs via free agency, though, and it’ll be interesting to see what else Belichick has up his sleeve.
We probably shouldn’t rule out anything at this point, based on the Patriots’ activity in recent days and the organization’s clear-cut desire to turn things around after a disappointing 2020 season.