Adrian Phillips couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of this NFL offseason.
After wide receiver Tyreek Hill was traded to the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday, becoming the latest in a long line of superstar-level players to change teams within the last two weeks, the New England Patriots safety offered a simple, three-letter reaction on Twitter:
One might offer the same response when asked how New England will defend Hill, Jaylen Waddle and the rest of the Dolphins’ offense this season. The Patriots are well-stocked at safety with Phillips, Devin McCourty and Kyle Dugger but severely lacking in cornerback depth and talent at the moment.
Substantial upgrades are needed as they prepare for two matchups apiece with the Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, plus games against a parade of top-tier quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, etc.)
While the Patriots have slowly pieced together their 2022 roster, several of their AFC competitors have made big-name, big-money additions, including three that upgraded their starting quarterbacks (Russell Wilson in Denver, Watson in Cleveland and Matt Ryan in Indianapolis).
Wide receivers Davante Adams and Amari Cooper also hopped to the AFC, as did edge rushers Khalil Mack, Von Miller and Chandler Jones. Former Patriots Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson stayed in conference but swapped uniforms, signing a hefty deal with the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Patriots’ most significant move thus far has been re-signing right tackle Trent Brown. They also re-upped veterans McCourty, James White, Matthew Slater, Brian Hoyer and Ja’Whaun Bentley, signed free agents Terrance Mitchell and Ty Montgomery and traded for linebacker Mack Wilson.