With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earning a hard-fought Super Bowl berth, the age-old Tom Brady-Bill Belichick debate has never been stronger.
While Brady found success with his new team in year one, Belichick's season didn't produce. The good news for New England Patriots fans is that Belichick seems to be taking this personal.
Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston reported on WEEI Wednesday what New England's mindset is heading into the offseason.
“Everything I am hearing from down there is that the Patriots are going to be extremely and uncharacteristically aggressive in this offseason,” Curran said.
Curran further elaborated that Belichick has clearly been irked by the team's lack of production, personnel struggles, and inability to find an identity throughout the season. Given that Belichick has a full offseason to renovate the roster for the first time in 13 years and second time in 21, he has been honing in on the draft more intensely than usual.
New England enters this offseason with the fourth-highest cap space in the league at with about $54.8 million, so they certainly have the necessary funds to be able to pursue some high profile free agents. Additionally, the team has its highest draft pick in decades, sporting the 15th overall pick come April. Given that the Patriots have legitimate needs at every position, they have a wild range of potential targets.
Let's start with the most obvious position of need: quarterback. Curran believes that the Patriots will go for a "mid-tier" quarterback such as Marcus Mariota or Jacoby Brissett and try to find a project quarterback prospect in the draft who they can develop. However, it would also make sense for the team to pursue Dak Prescott, who was putting together an elite season before his freak injury (or as Tony Romo referred to it, "cramp"). It is also possible that Belichick decides to go guns blazing and trades for Matthew Stafford, another move that would immediately give the team an above average quarterback with deep playoff run potential. While a trade for Deshaun Watson would be nice, it is unlikely to happen. Of course, it's possible that "aggressive" entails that Belichick trades away a bundle of draft picks to draft either Justin Fields or Zach Wilson earlier in the draft.
At wide receiver and tight end, Belichick has a myriad of options, including notable free agents such as Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Allen Robinson, and Hunter Henry. However, this year's draft is also stacked with receiving weapons such as DeVonta Smith, Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Kadarius Toney, and my personal favorite, Kyle Pitts. It is probable that Belichick drafts one of these weapons (if available) to open up the struggling offense.
While there are a potpourri of unknown paths Belichick could take to rebuild this team, one thing is certain: Belichick represents the apex of an individual dedicating himself to his craft. His work ethic, preparation, vision, passion, and adaptability have been unmatched for decades; it's the reason he has so thoroughly entrenched himself as the greatest to ever coach the game. Belichick on his own is obviously the most feared coach in the league -- but an angry Belichick? Cue the video of Belichick walking out of the tunnel at Ford Field while "Deadz" by Migos plays in the background.