Breaking Down the Patriots' Wild Monday

The New England Patriots were the most active team in the NFL on the first day negotiations with pending free agents could take place
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Money might not buy happiness, but in NFL free agency it might be the key to rebounding from a 7-9 season.

That seemed to be the theory the Patriots subscribed to Monday when they reportedly agreed to spend $156 million on the first day of the legal negotiating window with free agents to bring in four new players.

To put what the Pats did in perspective, they spent more than a third (nearly $146 million) in the first three hours of the free agent negotiating period Monday than they spent in free agency over the past 10 years, according to Warren Sharp of SharpFootballAnalysis.com.

From another perspective, Pro Football Focus reported that in the past three offseasons, the Pats spent $53.2 million in guaranteed money, but spent nearly $52.8 million in guaranteed money this offseason, as of Monday evening.

And the Patriots indeed weren't done because early in the evening they agreed to terms with Raiders wide receiver Nelson Agholor.

Rumors of the Pats not being a destination for free agents have obviously been severely disproven.

Although the Pats would have loved to have held on to popular offensive lineman Joe Thuney, who reportedly signed a five-year deal worth $80 million with the Kansas City Chiefs, New England definitely addressed some major needs.

Imported

JONNU SMITH

Position: TE

Former team: Tennessee Titans

Height/weight/age: 6-3, 248, 25

How he’ll help: Based on the performance of their tight ends since Rob Gronkowski left, the Pats would have improved this position by signing almost anyone available. Instead, they hit a home run by inking arguably the top player available at the position for a reported four years and $50 million.

DAVON GODCHAUX

Position: DT

Former team: Miami Dolphins

Height/weight/age: 6-3, 311, 26

How he’ll help: The Pats ranked 26th in defensive yards allowed per game (131.4 yards per game) and were 20th in rushing yards per carry (4.5). Godchaux should help improve those numbers.

MATT JUDON

Position: LB

Former team: Baltimore Ravens

Height/weight/age: 6-3, 261, 28

How he’ll help: Like Godchaux, he can help slow opponents’ running games. But he can also get to the quarterback, another area the Pats struggled last season. He’s had 22.5 sacks over the past three seasons.

JALEN MILLS

Position: DB

Former team: Philadelphia Eagles

Height/weight/age: 6-0, 191, 26

How he’ll help: In addition to being skilled, Mills will bring the Pats versatility — a new toy for Belichick to move around. Mills started games at cornerback and safety for the Eagles.

NELSON AGHOLOR

Position: WR

Former team: Las Vegas Raiders

Height/weight/age: 6-0, 198, 27

How he’ll help: He hit his stride in 2020 with 48 catches for a career-best 896 yards and a career-high-tying eight touchdowns. He’s a deep threat who could change the dynamic of the Pats’ offense.

RETAINED

DEATRICH WISE

Position: DE

Acquired: Pats drafted him in the 4th round (131st overall) in 2017

Height/weight/age: 6-5,275, 26

Why they’re keeping him: His popularity has risen in the locker room and once the roster shakes out he should be able to play on the outside, his natural position, more frequently — he had to fill in on the inside last season.