We may have the COVID-19 virus decimating our society and grinding the sports world to a halt, but there are three constants that STILL remain: death, taxes and the NFL making news in the offseason. And the “Tom Brady leaving Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots” news has been the gift that keeps on giving.
A lot of people love Tom Brady’s move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and I’m one of them.
I think with all that talent at the skill positions — Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (TWO Pro Bowlers) at WR, OJ Howard and Cameron Brate at TE — Brady will be salivating in the offensive huddle every single time, something he probably never did during his last season in New England. And in this win-now era in the NFL, I don’t have a problem with teams mortgaging its future to get a Super Bowl championship within a two to three-year window.
But if we are all about setting up your future and prosper in the long run, you can’t bet against Belicheat.
Before we go on, let’s point out the obvious. Yes, the Patriots presently do not have a future stud at QB waiting to take the reins. Y’all really think Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, and Cody Kessler are gonna lead the Pats to another division title? Hell, would they even have a winning season in 2020?
And yes, the AFC East is a lot better than it was last season. The Buffalo Bills are now a force to be reckoned with defensively, and QB Josh Allen is going to get better. The Miami Dolphins played HARD as an undermanned team last season, and is only going to get better in 2020. And the New York Jets, are well, the Jets.
However, let’s look at the positives.
First, the Patriots have a lot of draft picks to work with this season and the next. Belicheat and Co. have 12 picks to play with in next month’s NFL Draft, and have nine draft picks in the 2021 draft at the moment — which will grow due to compensatory picks for the loss of Brady and one or two other free agents they lost.
This gives the Patriots some options. First, they could stand pat and draft for value and depth. This is a wide receiver-rich draft, and New England is in dire need of a talent upgrade at that position. The team may not look to draft a QB early as well, which means…
Belicheat will package some of the aforementioned picks do move up to draft Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields in next year’s draft.
Hear me out for a minute. The Cincinnati Bengals, even with Joe Burrow will still suck. So will the Chicago Bears. Ditto with Washington. Those teams, and several others, will have their QB situations set for at least the next two seasons.
In fact, the only team that may be in the market for a quarterback next season may be the Jacksonville Jaguars. And if the Patriots win say, five or six games next season, you would have to believe that Belicheat has the draft capital to trade up to a very high draft position to get either Lawrence or Fields.
And to those of you who still think Belicheat is now on the clock, keep in mind that this man won 11 games with the immortal Matt Cassell at QB. ELEVEN.
So this hurts me to say as a Boston-area sports hater: the Patriots will be fine in the long run. And Belicheat will not be going anywhere for a while.