This team has just been an absolute mess since the Tom Brady era ended, and as a Patriots fan, as hard as it was to see Belichick go, I think it was neccessary for a complete and total rebuild. This is a team in desperate need of a spark, and in desperate need of some offensive help. Whether Jarod Mayo can be that spark is yet to be seen, but he's already got a ton more energy than Bill.
The plan was always for Jarod Mayo to come in a be the successor to Belichick, but if I could have it my way, I would have gave Bill one more season. I also would've officially promoted Jarod Mayo to DC and Assistant Head Coach to better prepare him for the role. But with how the season went, that timeline was moved up and we are here now.
Coaching: Building a Competent Roster
Now Mayo is a defensive guy, and if there is one thing that the Patriots have lacked in recent years, is a competent offensive scheme. The names floating around currently are Nick Caley (Rams TE Coach), Klint Kubiak (49ers Pass Game Specialist and son of Gary Kubiak), Thomas Brown (Former Panthers OC), Scott Turner (Raiders Pass Game Coordinator and son of Norv Turner), Brian Fleury (49ers TE Coach), and Luke Getsy (Former Bears OC).
My pick of the bunch would be Klint Kubiak, he has experience calling plays, and experience as a QB Coach. He was the offensive coordinator in 2021 for the Vikings and happened to be let go as part of Kevin O'Connell being hired and bringing in his own staff. In 2021 with Kubiak calling the plays Cousins had 33 TDs to 7 INTs and posted a 103.1 QB Rating on the year.
Kubiak can bring in expertise and run a similar scheme that the 49ers do, all they need to do is invest to some playmakers.
On the defensive side, the Patriots decided on an inside hire with DeMarcus Covington, the Patriots DL coach. I love this hire and you can see effectiveness with players like Christian Barmore and Deion White stepping up under his leadership. Between Covington and Mayo I'm not too worried about the defense (as long as they can stay healthy)!
Free Agency/Trades: Rebuilding the WR Core
First lets tackle trades. If I'm fixing the Patriots, I'm shopping around for young underutilizted talent on a team looking to move on. A name that sticks out to me is Jerry Jeudy, WR from the Denver Broncos. He looked much better as a rookie, he was really overshadowed and underutilized in Sean Payton's offense, and if they are truly moving on from Russell Wilson, a rebuild and moving on from Jeudy makes sense. This could cost anywhere from a 2nd-4th Rounder, ideally if the Patriots could send their #68 Overall Pick in the 3rd to get it done, I would be happy with that.
Another trade to consider is any team who has any interest in Mac Jones. I could maybe see a team like Atlanta, Vegas, or maybe Pittsburgh being interested and adding competition to their QB rooms in echange for a late round pick. But no matter how it happens, Mac Jones needs to be off the Patriots roster for the start of the 2024 Season.
Notable Free Agents and What I Would Do ($66,032,006 in Cap Space)
Kendrick Bourne (WR) ❌ Let Walk
Matthew Slater (WR/ST) ❌ Retirement
Trent Brown (OT) ❌ Let Walk
Mike Onwenu (OL) ✅ Re-Sign
Hunter Henry (TE) ✅ Re-Sign
Mike Gesicki (TE) ❌ Let Walk
Pharaoh Brown (TE) ✅ Re-Sign
Ezekiel Elliot (RB) ❌ Let Walk
Josh Uche (OLB) ✅ Re-Sign
Kyle Dugger (S) ✅ Re-Sign
Jalen Mills (CB) ❌ Let Walk
Myles Bryant (CB) ✅ Re-Sign
Juju Smith-Schuster ❌ Release
DeVante Parker ✅ Restructure Contract
Notable Free Agent Signing I Would Make ($66,032,006 in Cap Space)
Jonah Williams (OT)
Damien Harris (RB)
Jauan Jennings (WR)
Jamal Agnew (WR/KR/PR)
Azeez Al-Shaair (LB)
Willie Gay Jr. (LB)
Jerry Jacobs (CB)
Nothing in free agency that's over the top, this is still a team that needs to build it's foundational pieces. But strengthening the LB group with some young talent and adding a great piece in the secondary as well is great for the defense. Especially when you also bring back Dugger, Uche, and Bryant.
Offensively, still work to do but adding Jennings and Jeudy is a great start with Agnew being a gadget/retuner piece as well. Hunter Henry has a made a home in New England so that's where he will stay and Damien Harris comes back on a cheap deal to backup Stevenson (I also assume the Pats will draft a RB). I also made a point to address a hole at OT by signing the Top Name Available.
NFL Draft: Get the QB of the Future and Help Him Succeed
The Patriots are in a great spot to draft their future franchise QB at #3 overall, and although there a few options, my heart is set on the Patriots drafting a certain LSU QB that can elevate this offense.
Patriots 2024 Draft Picks
1st Round (3rd Overall)
2nd Round (34th Overall)
3rd Round (68th Overall Traded for Jerry Jeudy) ❌
4th Round (103rd Overall)
5th Round (135th Overall)
6th Round (181st Overall)
7th Round (228th Overall from CHI)
In my Patriots mock, I have them drafting (QB) Jayden Daniels with the 3rd Overall Pick, then in the 2nd Round Graham Barton (OL) to help protect him. In the later rounds, someone like Will Shipley (RB) or Roman Wilson (WR) to add some depth to the offense. Then I'd let Mayo pick his hand at some DBs late in the draft as well.
Altogether, here is what the revamped OFFENSE would look like;
QB - Jayden Daniels + Bailey Zappe
RB - Rhamondre Stevenson + Damien Harris + Kevin Harris
WR1 - Jerry Jeudy + DeVante Parker + Roman Wilson
WR2 - Jauan Jennings + Tyquan Thornton
SWR - Demario Douglas + Jamal Agnew
TE - Hunter Henry + Pharaoh Brown
All together, definitely an improvement, and with this team barring injury, I could see the Patriots sneaking into the playoffs as a Wild Card.
Jayden Daniels ↔️
Rhamondre Stevenson 📈
Jerry Jeudy 📈
Demario Douglas 📉
Hunter Henry 📈