Foxborough, MA– The New England Patriots are reigning Super Bowl champions, but few professional sports leagues have as much turnover as the NFL, so while the Patriots could enjoy and savor their sixth title in franchise history for a while, they did eventually have to make the requisite moves to bring them into the free agency period of the NFL off-season.
Recently, the Patriots traded for Michael Bennett, a defensive end formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles, and they opted to forego franchise tags for offensive lineman Trent Brown, defensive end Trey Flowers, and kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Many of these moves are coming further into play now as the free agency period explodes across the NFL landscape.
One key move that impacted the Patriots came from a player who was not even on the roster last season. Wide receiver Danny Amendola was a key, clutch figure in multiple Super Bowl efforts for the Patriots, but last off-season he departed New England to sign with the Miami Dolphins because the Fins were simply willing to pay Amendola more money than New England was. Amendola, however, was a free agent again this off-season and it was reported that there was mutual interest between Amendola and the Patriots to bring back the veteran wideout. Instead, Amendola ended up signing with the Detroit Lions to reunite with Matt Patricia. At the end of the day, Detroit was willing to pay a higher price for Danny.
Detroit was also willing to unload a massive payday for one of the stalwarts of the Patriots defense in recent years as they snagged Flowers in a five year contract worth as much as $17 million per season. Flowers will also be reuniting with Patricia, and it's a no-brainer that Bill Belichick was not willing to fork over that kind of cash for a player whose output he hopes to replicate through Bennett. Regardless, Flowers was an awesome player for the Pats, and he will be missed.
Offensive lineman Trent Brown also signed a big deal with the Oakland Raiders, which is another highlight of the immense talent and coaching skill that offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia has brought to the team.
The Patriots also missed out on another receiver, Adam Humphries, whom they were pursuing, as he joined the Tennessee Titans. Careful to not lose any more players, the Patriots are front runners to retain Gostkowski and they placed tenders on restricted free agents Josh Gordon and Jonathan Jones. They're not guaranteed to stick around, but it's looking good for the Patriots to at least retain those talents (Gordon's return would be a surprise, but a welcome one!).
Besides, after last year's off-season when the Patriots lost Amendola, Malcolm Butler, and Dion Lewis, the Patriots have proven they can win no matter what the circumstances.