The Patriots underwent wholesale changes to the coaching staff this offseason, and it came when New England had plenty of money to spend.

New England projects to have the second-most cap space this offseason behind the Washington Commanders, according to Over The Cap. New head coach Jerod Mayo hasn’t been clear about what his offensive philosophy is, but the offense likely will carry inspiration from Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay based on Alex Van Pelt’s hire as offensive coordinator and lead executive Eliot Wolf’s influences on the coaching staff.

That system needs a capable quarterback surrounded by dynamic playmakers, two things the Patriots lacked in the 2023 season. There are interesting veteran options in free agency, and a rookie quarterback also is an option, but New England must decide how it wants to mold the wide receiver corps.

The 2024 NFL Draft should provide solid options, Kendrick Bourne should be re-signed and free agency should also be utilized. Tee Higgins might get too expensive, and that makes Michael Pittman Jr. an interesting option. The Indianapolis Colts can give the four-year wideout the franchise tag, which would cost them $20.6 million, according to Over The Cap.

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However, if Pittman does enter free agency, he should be someone the Patriots consider. He’ll enter his age-27 season, which wouldn’t be too far off from the youth movement New England looks to be trending toward. Pittman had a standout season with a career-high 109 receptions for 1,152 yards in 2023. He ranked top 15 in receptions, targets and yards after catch, which put him up with the likes of CeeDee Lamb, Keenan Allen and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Pittman also finished seventh in targets per route run (27.7 percent) and accounted for nearly 30% of air yards among Colts pass catchers, per Next Gen Stats. The USC product is a physical wideout and showcases an ability to win in space.

The Patriots offense simply needs talent, and Pittman would help make strides in that effort. A potential issue would be that the Colts know that as well, and Pittman is well respected in the Indianapolis locker room, so it’s not guaranteed it will let the receiver enter the open market. He also might not be cheap. Spotrac projects his market value to be four years, $90,867,748, which would be about $22 million a year, and ranks him at No. 9 among wide receivers.

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New England has the cash to spend, and if Higgins doesn’t end up becoming an option, Pittman could make for a good plan B.

Featured image via Jenna Watson/IndyStar via USA TODAY Sports Images