By the next time you’re reading a NESN.com Patriots mailbag, you’ll know where New England’s biggest free agents are headed.
NFL free agency begins on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. We’ll know where most of the top free agents are going before that time, however, because the legal tampering period starts Monday.
The Patriots’ top free agents are defensive end Trey Flowers, left tackle Trent Brown, kicker Stephen Gostkowski, cornerback Jason McCourty and wide receivers Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson.
Before free agency begins, let’s talk draft and trades in this week’s mailbag.
Will we draft/trade for a back up QB this year?
I would guess so. I like a few of the quarterbacks in this class. NC State’s Ryan Finley, West Virginia’s Will Grier and Boise State’s Brett Rypien are early-to-mid round options. North Dakota State’s Easton Stick and Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson are late-round projects.
I think the Patriots would be insane not to at least attempt to trade for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen, however. Multiple reporters have predicted Arizona will only receive a third-round pick for Rosen, the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, if the Cardinals do draft quarterback Kyler Murray first overall this year. The Patriots have two second-round picks and three third-round picks.
The Patriots showed interest in Rosen last offseason. NESN.com knows that. Even if the Patriots didn’t like what they learned, it’s worth bringing Rosen into the building for a second- or third-round pick. If Rosen was in this year’s draft class, he undoubtedly would still be a first-round pick. The Patriots would have Rosen for three years of his rookie contract, plus his fifth-year option.
He stunk last season. He completed just 55.2 percent of his passes for 2,278 yards with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 13 starts. But he was on an atrocious Cardinals team that fired its head coach after one season. Look no further than Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff for a player who was terrible in his rookie season and pulled his career together shortly after.
Rosen has more promise than any quarterback the Patriots can take 32nd overall or later. With three third-round picks, the Patriots would be crazy not to bite.
Most other major sports have the draft, and then free agency. If you could, would you change the NFL to that format, or keep it the way it is? #MailDoug
I’d change it. The current system forces some teams to draft for need. Signing free agents for need is a more logical approach.
But it would be extremely difficult to change under the current system with pro days and visits and more fact-finding missions before the draft. Too many NFL decision-makers are coaches and involved in the season to push up pro days and visits any earlier than they’re currently scheduled. And it probably would be too late to start free agency in late April or May.
How will the coaching/character coach changes effect the organization?
They’ll have an effect. The Patriots lost linebackers coach Brian Flores, defensive line coach Brendan Daly, cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer, wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, coaching assistant Atif Austin and character coach Jack Easterby this offseason.
That’s a crazy amount of turnover for a team that has had more continuity than any other organization in the NFL over the last 19 years. All seven of those coaches have been in the organization for the Patriots’ second three-championship dynasty.
Of course, the Patriots still have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, so they’ll likely be really good in 2019. But I think the Patriots face more questions this offseason than they have since at least 2009.
If #Patriots broke the bank for outside-of-organization free agent, who would that be? #MailDoug
The top two outside options would be defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and wide receiver Golden Tate. I think there’s a better chance the Patriots simply re-sign defensive end Trey Flowers, however.
But I could see the Patriots deciding Suh and Tate are worth the money. They’re both on the tail end of their careers, so perhaps they would take a little less to win in New England.
The Patriots have major needs at defensive tackle and wide receiver, as well.
What is a trend in combine reporting that you’d like to see go away? I ask this as someone who has a hard time following college sports, the combine, AND the draft!
I personally like the NFL Scouting Combine as is. It’s an exhausting week, so maybe I’d push coach and GM availability back to the afternoon. But it’s one of the most productive weeks of the year for an NFL reporter. You wouldn’t believe the number of coaches, executives, general managers and agents you’re able to talk to on and off the record in a five-day span.
I don’t hate the idea of making the workouts a primetime event, but it does mess with the week’s schedule a bit. I also wouldn’t mind being in a warmer climate than Indianapolis, but the combine just works there. Everything is connected through skyways and tunnels. You barely even have to step outside throughout the week.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is I fear change.
Let’s go rapid fire.
What was your 40 time?
4.21 seconds, but I didn’t want to overshadow anyone, so I didn’t post it online.
If Pats bring in E.Weddle who will loose the playing time one of the safety or Roberts and keep 3 safety with 2 LB in most of the packages?
I don’t expect the Patriots to bring in Eric Weddle.
Do you think the Pats should go after any of the stud FA safeties (Landon Collins, Tyrann Mathieu, or other) in anticipation of an aging Chung/McCourty? #MailDoug
I don’t. I think it makes far more sense to keep Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty around for another season and draft their eventual replacement(s).
Best pick at #32 in an ideal scenario for Pats would be?
Best realistic scenario? Draft rankings seem all over the place at this point in the offseason. Either Notre Dame defensive lineman Jerry Tillery or Iowa tight end Noah Fant maybe?
How many of the 12 draft picks do the Pats actually use during this year’s draft to actually draft players?…draft #MailDoug
I’ll say nine.
Also, Earthquake John Tenta or King Kong Bundy?
Earthquake. RIP to both.
Scale of 1-10, how good would Henry Anderson fit our defense should we look at him in Free Agency?
Maybe an eight? I always thought he was a good player. I was surprised the Colts traded him for a seventh-round pick, and that’s all they could get, last offseason.
What WR could the pats trade for that can be the #1 option?
Odell Beckham Jr.
My thing is ppl ask you these questions but when and where do you answer them?
I wonder if Riley will find them.
OK, I’m going to start planning out my pizza order for Friday night now.
Watch this week’s full mailbag video below.
Thumbnail photo via Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports Images