The New England Patriots have several areas they need to focus on this offseason — most coming on the offensive side — to improve their roster.

Fixing the offensive line, especially with a key cog from that unit likely departing, is a must. Facilitating a change at the quarterback position is essential and new head coach Jerod Mayo hinted that the Patriots could use the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft to address that problem.

But whoever is under center for the Patriots will need upgraded weapons to throw to. The Patriots have whiffed on adding playmakers to their offense through free agency the last few seasons — Jonnu Smith and JuJu Smith-Schuster come to mind — but ESPN’s NFL analyst Aaron Schatz has them taking another crack at it again this offseason.

Schatz made a bold prediction that the Patriots will land a premium wide receiver by signing Indianapolis Colts wideout Michael Pittman Jr.

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“The Patriots will draft a young quarterback in the first round and then give him a top target to help him get used to the NFL,” Schatz wrote. “With a ton of cap space for 2024, the Patriots will be able to afford an expensive contract and bring in Michael Pittman Jr.”

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The 26-year-old Pittman, who is set to enter free agency for the first time in his career, is expected to be a pricey signing given his strong production in a lackluster Colts offense over the years. And it’s likely Pittman will look to cash in, too, after playing the last four seasons on a rookie contract.

The physical 6-foot-4, 223-pound pass-catcher set career highs this season with 109 receptions and 1,152 yards receiving to go along with four touchdowns. It nearly was Pittman’s second straight season of 100 catches — he made 99 receptions in 2022.

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The Patriots didn’t have a single receiver catch over 50 passes this season and only one wideout — Jakobi Meyers — crossed that threshold over the last two seasons.

The Patriots need a go-to option on the outside, something that has been absent in their anemic offense. Pittman could solve some of their offensive problems, but they surely will have to pay up to have him in a Patriots uniform next season.

Featured image via Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports Images