Any knowledgeable Patriots fan will tell you that this offseason was certainly a bizarre one for the team. Bill Belichick seemingly did business differently, right from the jump. On the first day of free agency, the Patriots signed UFA CB Stephon Gilmore to a 5 year, $65 million dollar deal. Yes really, they did. The Patriots handed out a heap of money mere hours into free agency to a top free agent. That very rarely happens. After that, the Patriots dumped most of the draft picks in a flurry of trades but ended up receiving quite the haul back in three separate deals. They acquired WR Brandin Cooks, a speedster from New Orleans, TE Dwayne Allen, a big tight end to replace Martellus Bennett, from the Colts, and Kony Ealy, a solid defensive end with a reputation for making impact plays from Carolina. The Patriots also had their sneaky and typical Patriot type deals. The Pats also signed RBs Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead. They were also able to keep Dont’a Hightower on a 4-year, $43.5 million deal, despite rumors of more money being offered from other teams. Finally, after an onslaught of drama and trade rumors, Malcolm Butler signed his RFA tender for a 1 year, $3.7 million deal, far below market value. This absolutely hectic offseason will be critical in determining the Patriots future. I have my theory of what the Patriots plan is, so grab your tinfoil hats and let’s discuss.
No Patriots fan, myself included, wants to admit this to themselves, but is a harsh reality that the franchise and the fans must face: Tom Brady’s days in a Patriots uniform are numbered. Within the next few years, the Patriots will begin a transition from Tom Brady to Jimmy Garappolo and the evidence is all in this offseason. It seems to me that 2 years is the magic number. Tom Brady may have 2 seasons left as the QB for the Patriots. Within the next 2 years all of the following players will become UFA: Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Brandin Cooks, Malcolm Butler, Kony Ealy, Rob Ninkovich, Nate Solder, Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, and MORE! The Patriots have ABSOLUTELY FUCKING LOADED UP for what may be Tom Brady’s final 2 seasons in New England. Two more titles in two final seasons would give him 7! Holy shit! That is getting very far ahead of ourselves to assume that we can rattle off two more rings so easily, but Belichick has built his team to be a juggernaut capable of doing so. But after those two seasons, so much cap space is cleared up that Belichick can rebuild how he wants around Garappolo.
There are however, a few problems. Brady is signed through 2019. Jimmy G is a UFA after this season. For Jimmy, a franchise tag is possible, but that is a hefty price for a backup next season. A bridge deal is also possible, but how much longer does Jimmy want to spend riding the bench? As for Brady, if he really wants to play until 45 then he won’t be retiring for another 5 years! Would the Patriots really trade or release him? I don’t know but what I do know is that Bill Belichick is going to do what’s best for his team. If that means choosing 10 years of Jimmy of 2-3 of Tom, he just might. And if you are about to roast me and call me a fake fan, believe me, I am one of the biggest Brady fanboys ever. I might name my first born after him. If he could play until he is 50, absolutely I would want him to. But Father Time is undefeated. Eventually, Tom Brady will not be the quarterback for the Patriots, that is a fact. If Garappolo is the real deal, the Patriots will not want to lose him. I do know one thing, however:
In Bill We Trust.