The New England Patriots continued their free-agent frenzy on Wednesday as the team continues to grow stronger on paper, on both sides of the ball. Bill Belichick brought back two former players who had bolted for the Miami Dolphins last season.
New England signed versatile offensive lineman Ted Karras, per The Athletic’s Jeff Howe (h/t Tom Pelissero for the money details), who seems set to replace David Andrews again.
Belichick brought back another multi-faceted player on the defense, Kyle Van Noy, on a two-year deal, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Van Noy confirmed the agreement on social media on Wednesday night.
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From 2017-19, Van Noy racked up 15.5 sacks for the Patriots. As an entire team in 2020, New England had just 24.
Both men should have just as big of an impact on the other side of the ball.
The Patriots have already massively upgraded their roster, and they still have a little over $15 million available to spend with the draft coming up, per Over the Cap. New England could still create more flexibility with player releases and trades.
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Twitter Reacts to The Signings
The Patriots’ pass rush has seen a massive upgrade with the additions of Matthew Judon, Van Noy, the assumed progression of Josh Uche and Chase Winovich, and the return of Dont’a Hightower.
The latter reacted on social media to Van Noy returning to his unit.
The Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels points out the obvious continuity draw that led Karras to come back to the Patriots.
When Andrews missed all of 2019 with blood clots, Karras stepped in admirably, starting 15 games. It would appear he’s headed for similar duty in 2021, with Andrews seemingly on the verge of leaving in free agency to either the Dolphins or Green Bay Packers.
Mike Brez of the Brawl Network pointed out the odd occurrence that will see the Patriots collect a compensatory pick in the upcoming draft stemming from Van Noy’s free-agent exit in 2020 while re-acquiring him in 2021.
Gerry Dulac of the Steelers Network seems to confirm the Patriots will not re-sign Andrews after adding Karras.
The Patriots’ Likely Starters and Top Contributors
If the season began today, and mind you, the team will almost certainly find some starters in the draft or a trade or later free-agent move, here’s what the primary contributors at each position would look like.
- QB Cam Newton
- RB Damien Harris/Sony Michel
- FB Dan Vitale/Jakob Johnson
- WR Nelson Agholor
- WR Kendrick Bourne
- WR Julian Edelman
- TE Jonnu Smith
- TE Hunter Henry
- LT Isaiah Wynn
- LG Shaq Mason
- C Ted Karras
- RG Mike Onwenu
- RT Trent Brown
- D-Line Deatrich Wise
- D-Line Carl Davis
- D-Line Davon Godchaux
- D-Line Henry Anderson
- WLB Matthew Judon
- LILB Ja’Whaun Bentley
- RILB Dont’a Hightower
- SLB Kyle Van Noy
- LCB J.C. Jackson
- RCB Stephon Gilmore
- FS Devin McCourty
- SS Patrick Chung/Kyle Dugger
It’s hard not to be a little optimistic when you compare that list of playmakers to what the team trotted on the field in 2020.
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