The New England Patriots were mostly quiet this offseason when it came to free-agent acquisitions, but there have been a few noteworthy trades. Depending on who you ask, Bill Belichick and Co. may not be done dealing.
New England has already traded Shaq Mason to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jarrett Stidham to the Las Vegas Raiders. Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton believes the Patriots should also move on from disappointing free-agent wide receiver Nelson Agholor before the start of the 2022 season.
“Given the amount of competition he’ll be facing, Agholor may not see enough targets to rack up respectable receiving numbers this season,” Moton wrote. “Though the Patriots would be left with a $5.1 million dead cap hit if they traded Agholor post-June 1, they would also save $10 million in cap space. The front office should attempt to acquire draft capital for a player who’s probably fourth on the wide receiver depth chart behind Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and [DeVante] Parker while heading into a contract year.”
The Patriots signed Agholor to a 2-year, $22 million deal last year, but he was among the more underachieving free-agent signings in 2021.
A year after he helped the Raiders’ deep passing game with 48 receptions, 896 yards and 8 TDs he could muster only 37 catches for 473 yards and 3 TDs in 2021 with the Patriots.
Despite his down year in 2021, Agholor is still just 29 years old. He’s healthy, in the last year of his deal and there is recent history of noteworthy success. That should be enough to generate some interest on the trade market.
There may also be an argument for keeping Agholor until closer to the trade deadline. There’s the possibility of injury to Parker, Bourne, Thornton or Meyers. Agholor could easily step into one of the vacated roles and he’d still be a better option than a player who would otherwise be on the practice squad.
It’s also possible Agholor could show some flashes during the first weeks of the season or preseason that could raise his trade value. If the Patriots make the deal closer to the deadline, they may be able to entice contending teams to overpay.
The Agholor situation is one of many that fans should pay close attention to over the next few months.
In Other Patriots News: Mac Jones May Be Headed Toward Captain Status
In just his second season in the NFL, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones may be set to receive his first captain’s “C.” Jones has already been described as a “vocal leader,” by Foxborough newcomer Parker.
Jones has shown with the look of a young man who is ready for business. He is in, by most accounts, “the best shape of his life,” which should only raise his ceiling and the potential for the Patriots’ offense.
Jones finished runner-up to Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase for the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2021. Jones threw for 3,801 yards, 22 TDs, 13 INTs while completing 67% of his passes. If Jones can build on those numbers, the Patriots’ offense will take a crucial step in 2022.
In Other Patriots News: Coaches Spending Time With Various Aspects of the Roster
The Patriots are seemingly headed for a coaches by committee approach with every aspect of the team’s on-field operations this year. Without a definitive offensive or defensive coordinator, New England has a wide variety of assistants pitching in their help with several units.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Mike D’Abate, Belichick oversaw the offense while Joe Judge focused on the passing game with Matt Patricia honing in on the rushing attack. Belichick and Judge were also working with Agholor and the rest of the skill-position players.
It remains to be seen how this unorthodox approach will work for the offense, but it is safe to say tons of eyes will be on the development of Jones and the Patriots’ attack.
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