Questions swirl around the New England Patriots ahead of organized team activities, but the makeup of the team’s roster reportedly has its experienced players encouraged.
“Extremely encouraged,” in fact, according to a report Friday from The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.
“New England veterans have been extremely encouraged with the team chemistry this offseason,” Howe wrote. “The free-agent additions have meshed well in the locker room, and there’s been a different vibe over the past month.”
The Patriots loaded up in free agency last offseason, handing out more than $170 million guaranteed to add players like Matthew Judon, Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Nelson Agholor, Davon Godchaux and Jalen Mills.
With much less available salary cap space, they took a more measured approach this spring, signing a handful of mid-to-low-level free agents (cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Terrance Mitchell, safety Jabrill Peppers and receiver/running back Ty Montgomery) and trading for wide receiver DeVante Parker and linebacker Mack Wilson.
New England will hope those arrivals, coupled with improved play from its 2021 free agent class and second-year quarterback Mac Jones, are enough to keep pace in a newly beefed-up AFC. The Patriots went 10-7 and lost in the wild-card round last season and have since watched a number of their conference competitors make substantial roster improvements.
Howe also reported the Patriots “sound ecstatic” with Jones’ “offseason dedication.” Jones finished second in NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting a year ago and regularly garners rave reviews from his veteran teammates.
“Jones has spent long hours at Gillette Stadium, often beating the coaching staff into the building to get a jump-start on film study for the day,” Howe wrote. “He is also taking ownership of the offense, willing to vouch for plays and concepts that he likes and pump the brakes on the stuff that hasn?t worked.”
The Patriots will begin voluntary OTAs on Monday.