Serious concern surrounded the Patriots as they wrapped up their 2020 season.
But following an uncharacteristically active free agency tour, there is new hope in New England.
Bill Belichick and Co. did not spare any expenses as they started shaping their roster upon the start of the new league year. The Patriots added a handful of marquee newcomers — like Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith and Matt Judon — while also retaining some of their homegrown players such as David Andrews and James White.
New England undoubtedly has improved, but those improvements for now only have been made on paper. As such, the Patriots still find themselves in the lower tier of ESPN’s latest NFL power rankings. New England sits 19th on the network’s list with the dust largely settled on free agency.
As for the Patriots’ best offseason move thus far, ESPN believes New England was wise to double-dip at tight end.
“The Patriots had the lowest percentage of snaps in the NFL with two TEs on the field at the same time (just 3%),” Mike Reiss wrote. “Playing with two or more TEs has long been a staple of Bill Belichick’s Patriots, as they have scored 271 touchdowns with two tight ends on the field since 2010, by far the most in the NFL (Vikings are next at 217). Smith and Henry now bring that back — in a potentially big way.”
If Belichick is able to restore some of that magic with his new-look offense, it shouldn’t take the Patriots very long to climb up ESPN’s power rankings once the 2021 season gets underway.