The New England Patriots underwent serious changes this NFL offseason.

Most notably, the Patriots moved on from Bill Belichick, their head coach since 2000, and replaced him with Jerod Mayo. New England also selected quarterback Drake Maye with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Chances are the Patriots won’t see immediate results. Only the Carolina Panthers (+30000 at FanDuel Sportsbook) have longer Super Bowl odds than the Patriots (+25000), who are expected to finish last in the AFC East for the second straight season.

But ESPN analytics expert Seth Walder still likes how New England navigated the last few months after going 4-13 in the 2023 campaign. He gave the Patriots an “A-” this week while grading each NFL team’s offseason.

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“Sure, New England’s offseason will hinge entirely on how Maye pans out,” Walder wrote. “But the moves the Patriots made around drafting the rookie quarterback make sense for a team building toward reopening its contending window in 2025.”

Only the Philadelphia Eagles earned a higher grade (A), while the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins joined the Patriots in earning an “A-” for their offseason work.

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Walder disliked that New England didn’t add a guard, with Cole Strange and Sidy Sow penciled in as starters, but drafting Maye and signing veteran Jacoby Brissett as a bridge QB/mentor could prove beneficial for the Pats.

Retaining a few key players (on both sides of the ball) and reshaping the wide receiver room via the draft should help, as well.

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“The Patriots brought back offensive tackle Mike Onwenu, defensive tackle Christian Barmore and edge rusher Joshua Uche for cheaper prices than expected and added Brissett as a high-quality bridge and/or backup quarterback for $8 million — also cheap,” Walder wrote.

The Patriots’ over/under win total is set at 4.5 for the 2024 season. They have +920 odds to make the playoffs and +2700 odds to win the division.

It could be another long season in Foxboro, with growing pains to be expected, but there is at least some reason for optimism thanks to a productive offseason in wake of Belichick’s departure.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images