Patriots Newcomers’ Agent Shares Insight On Free Agent Spending Spree

'They had the money out there, and they were hungry'


Mar 17, 2021

Including recent trade acquisition Trent Brown, the New England Patriots have added a whopping nine players since the middle of last week.

The agent for four of them shared his take on Bill Belichick’s wild spending spree during an appearance on “The Peter King Podcast.”

Drew Rosenhaus, who represents Brown, tight end Jonnu Smith, defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and defensive back Jalen Mills, said the Patriots’ abundance of salary cap space compared to the rest of the NFL and Belichick’s motivation to improve after an uncharacteristically mediocre 2020 season inspired New England’s aggressiveness in free agency.

“They had the money out there, and they were hungry,” Rosenhaus told King in an interview posted Wednesday morning. “I just got the sense that Coach Belichick was hungry. I got the feeling that last year didn’t sit very well with them. I got the feeling they weren’t content missing the playoffs, and I got the sense that they were going to do a lot to improve their football team. And they were able to do things that other teams couldn’t do.

“And one thing about Belichick, besides being a great coach, he’s also, I think, an outstanding talent evaluator and a great NFL executive, so I think it’s scary to give an outstanding coach like that tons of cap room that most teams don’t have. I think the Patriots are going to be a very dangerous team this year.”

The Patriots agreed to deals with a total of seven external free agents within the first eight hours of Monday’s legal tampering window, with edge rusher Matt Judon, wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne and defensive lineman Henry Anderson joining Smith, Godchaux and Mills. The following morning, they landed Hunter Henry, giving them both of the top two available tight ends.

The contracts for these eight free agents include $130.5 million in guaranteed money. The Patriots also have re-signed quarterback Cam Newton, special teamer Justin Bethel, defensive end Deatrich Wise and defensive tackle Carl Davis.

King asked Rosenhaus whether the Patriots’ underwhelming 7-9 finish last season prompted Belichick to ditch his usual value-seeking thriftiness and spend big to revamp New England’s roster.

“I believe so,” Rosenhaus replied. “And again, because they had an advantage this year that most teams didn’t have. They had the room. They have a great owner in Robert Kraft; he’s got the cash. They’ve always been a team that’s been able to get deals done and been aggressive when they’ve wanted to be, and from my standpoint, they took advantage of an edge that they had.

“I think we all agree that Belichick is very good at taking advantage of opportunities, and he did this year. He knew there were a lot of teams that didn’t have cap room and wouldn’t have the ability to go out and add great football players, and he did the exact opposite — he went and did that. He went and improved his football team by leaps and bounds. I think everybody would agree this roster is incredibly improved from the one that they ended the season with.”

NFL free agency officially opens at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, at which point New England can sign its incoming free agents and finalize the Brown trade (along with the one that will send fellow offensive tackle Marcus Cannon to the Houston Texans).

The Patriots have roughly $20 million in leftover cap space and a few roster holes that still need patching, so expect more moves in the hours and days to come.

Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images
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