But what will that aggressiveness entail?
ESPN.com published a piece Wednesday in which Football Outsiders suggested “daring” offseason moves for all 32 teams across the NFL.
“Some of these are realistic, others are more far-fetched, but each would provide a significant change and improve a team’s chances of winning future Super Bowls,” the article explained.
The Patriots own the No. 15 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but Football Outsiders proposed that New England trade up to land its QB of the future.
Here’s their rationale:
The most likely scenario is that all of the five first-round-caliber passers will be gone by the time the Patriots’ pick comes around at No. 15. Rumors have the Patriots instead kicking the tires on trades and veteran free agents, and trading up in the first round isn’t a particularly Belichickian move; the Pats last moved up on draft day back in 2012. Still, short of a Deshaun Watson maneuver, bringing in a veteran isn’t going to kick-start the next Patriots dynasty. If the Pats want the best chance of settling their quarterback position for the foreseeable future, they can’t count on finding another Brady in the dregs of the draft; they need to be bold.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of New England finding a quarterback now that Tom Brady is winning Super Bowl titles with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cam Newton experiment didn’t go well in 2020, and the Patriots have just Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala under contract for 2021.
The Patriots have been linked, at least in speculation, to nearly every quarterback available. Still, it’s anyone’s guess as to how Belichick will approach the situation. Everything — free agency, trades and the draft — remains a possibility at this point.
Complicating matters for New England is that there could be a run on quarterbacks early in the draft, with Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones widely considered the top five options.
As uncharacteristic as it would be, the Patriots ultimately might have no other choice but to trade up if they truly believe in one of those signal-callers. Or else New England could be stuck picking from the next tier of QB prospects.
Here’s more from Football Outsiders on the idea of New England trading up for a quarterback:
The Patriots aren’t going to be in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, but they have a chance to grab Zach Wilson, Justin Fields or Trey Lance. A trade with Cincinnati at No. 5 (for No. 15, No. 46, and a fourth-rounder?) would put New England in the catbird seat for a passer of their choosing, while trading with Dallas in the 10th slot would at least jump them over the 49ers and Vikings. The Patriots have the draft capital to go get their guy; the question is, do they have the will?
The Patriots aren’t going to be reckless. Whatever they choose to do this offseason presumably will be calculated, especially as it pertains to the quarterback position one year after letting Brady walk in free agency.
It might be time to push the envelope, however, as New England’s decisions over the next few months could shape the franchise’s long-term future, for better or worse.