It’s no secret the New England Patriots have ample salary cap space with which to work this offseason, a luxury not every team has ahead of 2021 NFL free agency.
But will Bill Belichick actually write some big checks?
ESPN NFL insider Field Yates fully expects the Patriots to splurge on the open market, perhaps fueling a turnaround for New England, which went 7-9 in its first season following Tom Brady’s departure.
“You look at teams, like, for example, the Patriots, who are flush with capital this offseason in terms of cap space,” Yates said Thursday on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “This is a team that could have 60-plus million dollars in cap space if they do nothing. That number could balloon if they make a couple of cuts on their own. And let me ask you something that’s a rhetorical question: Do you think Bill Belichick wants to go 7-9 again next year? Yeah, we know the answer to that question.
“We’ll talk about the quarterback solution the Patriots have to figure out at some point this offseason. But when you’ve got teams that are effectively sitting out in free agency — you’ve gone from 32 to 24 teams that are actually spending and the Patriots have a stack of cash — I know this team was down last year, but I expect them to look a lot different by the time we get to the first wave of free agency. Bill Belichick is ready to spend.”
All eyes are on the quarterback position in Foxboro, where Cam Newton struggled for most of the 2020 season. Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala currently are the only QBs under contract with New England for 2021. Thus, a move on that front is inevitable.
This doesn’t mean the Patriots will dip into free agency for their next signal-caller, as Belichick might find the trade market and/or the NFL draft to be a more enticing avenue for solving that dilemma.
Still, New England needs an infusion of talent on both sides of the football, and it’d therefore be wise for the organization to flex its financial power in some capacity before the 2021 campaign rolls around.