The New England Patriots need offensive help — and they may be hoping to get it by targeting two former All-Pros.
The Patriots face a pivotal offseason in 2020. That is in large part due to Tom Brady’s impending free agency. With that said, even assuming the Patriots re-sign Brady, they will have other holes to fill — most notably, at tight end and wide receiver.
With New England still needing to decide on Brady’s future and how much they’d be willing to pay him, it may leave the Patriots with very little cap room. In fact, entering this offseason, they have roughly $45 million to play with. While moves will obviously be made to free up a little more cap space, it’s not as though New England will be overloaded with available cash to spend.
In turn, this means the Patriots have to look at potential low-cost options on the free-agent market or through potential trades. One interesting take comes from Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report, who points to the idea of New England filling these gaping voids by signing A.J. Green and Greg Olsen to team-friendly deals.
“Tom Brady’s future might be the NFL’s dominant storyline, but it’s one that is (in the words of Shakespeare) full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The quarterback will be back with the Pats in 2020.
Assuming he is, the priority then becomes upgrading the offensive talent around him. That won’t be easy with limited cap flexibility after re-upping the Golden Boy. But aging veterans such as Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, 31, and Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, 34, might sacrifice a little contract cheese for a chance at a ring.
It’s not like the Pats don’t have a history of targeting older free agents.”
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Why A.J. Green & Greg Olsen Could Come Cheap for Patriots
Davenport is right — these guys may be cost-effective options for the Patriots. Green just completed the 2019 season without playing in a single game due to torn ligaments in his ankle. The veteran receiver will be 32 years old this year and it’s unclear how his future looks with the Cincinnati Bengals.
When you factor in that the Bengals are in clear rebuilding mode — they have the No. 1 overall pick and are expected to draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow — it may not make a ton of sense to hand him a massive contract.
As far as Olsen is concerned, the veteran tight end agreed to part ways with the Carolina Panthers last week. The 34-year-old established himself as one of the best tight ends over the past decade, becoming the first at his position to post three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. In the process, he was named to three Pro Bowls and two All-Pro squads.
The Patriots Need to Upgrade at Receiver
The Patriots need to upgrade at the receiver position, especially if they’re going to push to re-sign Brady for season No. 21 in New England.
The retirement of Rob Gronkowski and the lack of reliable receivers outside of Julian Edelman played a major role in Brady completing just 60.8 percent of his passes this past season — the third-lowest of his NFL career.
Brady’s sights are likely set on joining a team with a number of weapons at his disposal, and if the Patriots are able to provide that, then you’d be hard-pressed to bet against them as the favorite to re-sign him.