It’s turned into The Great Debate because the New England Patriots roster isn’t, well, great.

Many have argued which weakness the Patriots should address first in the NFL draft and in free agency. New England has a number of glaring holes, especially on the offensive side of the ball at quarterback, wide receiver and offensive tackle.

Given the Patriots are expected to have more than $100 million in cap space this offseason, New England has the means to address those positions and others on the open market. NFL free agency begins March 13, two days after the legal tampering period opens, and more than a month before the draft.

The Athletic’s Chad Graff and Jeff Howe on Thursday reported the Patriots’ top priorities in free agency are, in order, wide receiver, offensive tackle and tight end.

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Unfortunately for the Patriots, the depth at wideout this offseason isn’t ideal. Calvin Ridley and Mike Evans are viewed as the top options after Tee Higgins received the franchise tag from the Cincinnati Bengals and with Michael Pittman almost certainly not leaving the Indianapolis Colts. The Buccaneers reportedly are working hard to retain Evans, who has spent all 10 of his NFL seasons in Tampa Bay, too.

The lack of depth could drive the price up for Ridley, who feels like the most realistic option and a player who would greatly help whichever quarterback is behind center in New England in 2024.

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“But the Patriots want a No. 1 receiver, so they might have to pay a premium for Ridely,” The Athletic reported.

In regards to New England’s other top priorities, the Patriots could re-sign offensive lineman Mike Onwenu to play right tackle and veteran tight end Hunter Henry. Using an early pick on a tackle could go a long way in complementing that, too. It’s a weaker class of tight ends with only Dalton Schultz presenting a definitive upgrade at the position.

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The Athletic also reported while New England’s preference is to use its No. 3 pick on a quarterback, the Patriots have done their research on veteran signal-callers set to hit the open market.

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