The New England Patriots were uncharacteristically big spenders in NFL free agency this past month. Patriots owner Robert Kraft allowed Bill Belichick to basically go all out and pick up some of the biggest names for some of the biggest contract.
Speaking to the media this week, the Patriots owner revealed why he was so willing to loosen the purse strings this time. He claimed that this was the ideal year to do so since there were fewer teams competing for top players.
“If ever there was a year to do it, this was it,” Kraft said, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “Instead of having 10-12 teams competing for players, it was more like 2-3.”
Kraft isn’t wrong. The Patriots were flush with cap space, boasting one of highest available cap space marks in the league by mid-March.
Fast-forward to today and the Patriots’ cap space for 2021 has been cut all the way to $12 million following the deals they’ve made.
Robert Kraft on free-agent spending: If ever there was a year to do it, this was it. Instead of having 10-12 teams competing for players, it was more like 2-3.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 31, 2021
Among the big players the Patriots brought in are tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Those two got over $50 million in combined guarantees alone.
Other players getting big deals include wide receiver Nelson Agholor, edge rusher Matt Judon and defensive tackle Davon Godchaux.
The Patriots went 7-9 in 2020 – their first losing season since 2000. Clearly some big changes were needed in the first year of the Patriots’ post-Tom Brady era.
Perhaps the changes the Patriots have made this offseason will be enough.
Robert Kraft certainly believes they will.
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