Foxborough, MA– Recently, I wrote about the ins and outs of the front office of the New England Patriots with a focus on the free agents they were targeting (Adam Humphries, Danny Amendola) and others who they were letting go (Trent Brown, Trey Flowers). Now, it's time to take a look at all the other free agency and off-season moves conducted by other NFL teams and what impact these moves will have, if any, on the Patriots.
Take the Pittsburgh Steelers. Throughout the run of Patriots' dominance, the only team from the AFC that ever became a true thorn in the side of New England, aside from the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts teams that were led by Peyton Manning, has been the Steelers. Now, it looks like the Steelers are no longer going to be a real contender against the Patriots in the AFC.
The Steelers' recent era has been defined by the "Killer Bs," which consisted of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown, and running back Le'Veon Bell. After some strife and conflict, Brown and Bell are no longer members of the Steelers. Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders (after rejecting a trade to the Buffalo Bills) and Bell just chose the New York Jets as his destination. Obviously, the Brown deal impacts the Patriots less, as they will not have a regular season date with the Raiders, but if Brown takes the team to the next level, the Raiders could be a major AFC West contender.
The Patriots will likely face more challenges with the Jets. If their quarterback, Sam Darnold, is able to make the sophomore leap, there's no telling what he could do with a real weapon like Bell on the roster. The Patriots will still have the Jets' number, I bet, but it's been a while since New York had a player of this talent.
Another New York team, the Giants, also made big waves in the NFL. They traded Odell Beckham, Jr., a former target of the Patriots, to the Cleveland Browns. With Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt, Baker Mayfield, and now Beckham, the Browns might be a legitimate threat to the Patriots dynasty. Imagine saying that just a few years ago!