NFL Analyst Explains Why Patriots’ Free Agency Is ‘Absolute Clinic’

Louis Riddick is very impressed with Bill Belichick's moves


March 18, 2021

The New England Patriots have been, by far, the most active team in NFL free agency.

This isn’t an instance of quantity over quality, either.

As NFL analyst Louis Riddick, who once played for Bill Belichick with the Cleveland Browns, explained Wednesday on ESPN’s “Get Up,” the Patriots have a clear vision for building their roster.

“I’d take it a step further as far as it just being a lot of moves. I think these moves are all very, very strategic and really represent philosophically who Bill has always wanted to be from a team-building standpoint,” Riddick said. “He wants to attack you inside out, make you defend the middle of the field first from inside out. I heard it over and over and over again in our meeting rooms back in Cleveland, and he went and got the people that allow him to do that — like he could back in the heyday of New England. He wants to run 12 personnel — two tight ends, two (wide receivers) and one running back — because of the mismatches it gives you and the predicament it puts defenses in.

“All he did was: ‘I’m going to build this thing exactly the way I’ve always done it — inside out, front to back. And I’m going to get guys who are great at situational football and who are versatile and multiple.’ And he’s executing it to a T right now.

“Now, it’s all on the quarterback. It’s all on Cam Newton and whether they wind up drafting somebody for the future. But right now, as far as team building is concerned, this is a clinic of how to run free agency. It’s an absolute clinic.”

The Patriots, fresh off a disappointing 7-9 season, last week traded for offensive lineman Trent Brown and re-signed quarterback Cam Newton. Those moves were a precursor to New England’s free agency spending spree, in which the Patriots addressed several glaring needs on both sides of the ball.

The Patriots’ external acquisitions, as of Thursday evening, included tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, edge rusher Matt Judon, defensive back Jalen Mills and defensive linemen Davon Godchaux, Henry Anderson and Montravius Adams. They also brought back linebacker Kyle Van Noy and center Ted Karras, two members of New England’s recent Super Bowl-winning teams, and re-signed multiple internal free agents.

All in all, it’s been a busy week, to the point where it’d be easy to lose track of the Patriots’ new faces.

Unless you’re Belichick, whose signings seem very calculated and, who knows, perhaps indicative of a more significant move to come this offseason.

Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images
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