The New England Patriots reverted back to their old ways this offseason, scaling back their spending and looking to find the best possible value in each contract doled out. That doesn’t mean they didn’t make quality acquisitions, however.
After spending a league-leading $291 million on free agents in the 2021 offseason, New England spent a miniscule $34 million in 2022 — playing their game of maximizing value in the middle-class portion of their roster. The Patriots made a myriad of low-risk, high-reward signings this past spring, but it was the re-signing of one of their own that drew the attention of Pro Football Focus.
PFF’s Brad Spielberger took a look at the best offseason move for each team in the AFC, and pointed at Trent Brown as the Patriots’. Here’s how he explained his choice:
Following the loss of both starting guards from 2021 — with Ted Karras signing a free-agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals and Shaq Mason traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Brown’s return on a team-friendly deal has some added value with the continuity he provides. Furthermore, do-it-all offensive lineman Michael Onwenu can return to the right guard spot where he played most of his college career at Michigan.
Brown earned career-best 78.7 overall grade and 81.2 pass-blocking grade in 2021, and the Patriots’ AFC East foes will now line up with edge defenders Von Miller, Melvin Ingram III and Carl Lawson in addition to several young pass-rushers each has drafted in recent years.
Last but certainly not least, Brown has the ability to play both tackle spots, and his two-year deal extending beyond left tackle Isaiah Wynn’s fifth-year option season in 2022 is not a coincidence. Brown can slide over in the event of an injury and adds leverage in negotiations with the former first-rounder entering a contract year.
New England re-signed Brown for two-years at what can become a total of $22 million. That’s a staggeringly low number for one of the best right tackles in football, especially after he took a free agent visit with the Seattle Seahawks — who may have the worst offensive line in football. Nevertheless, the Patriots received a hometown discount and locked up Brown to man a tackle spot for the next two seasons. A great move, no doubt.