Opinions are split both nationwide and around New England about whether the Patriots spent their nearly $200 million in guaranteed money wisely in free agency the past couple weeks.
Well you can put the folks at PFF on the positive side of the ledger, although they weren’t sold enough to give the Pats their highest grade of “excellent.” (Just the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and Washington Football Team got that grade).
“The Patriot Way has apparently undergone some significant changes and now includes spending more guaranteed money in free agency than any team in NFL history in a single week of free agent business,” PFF writes.
While calling former Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry, who signed a three-year deal worth up to $37.5 million, the Pats’ best signing, PFF pointed out the risks New England is taking by investing so much in Henry and Jonnu Smith (four years, up to $50 million):
“… (Henry and Smith) represent significant individual outlay, but together they are the most money committed to the tight end position in the NFL. In 2020, the Patriots ran just 31 snaps with multiple tight ends on the field, by far the lowest in the league. Evidently, that is something that will shift significantly in 2021.”
Folks are excited about the addition of linebacker Matthew Judon, whose deal could pay him $54.5 million over four seasons, to the defense, but PFF was lukewarm on the addition:
“Judon has 109 total pressures over the last two seasons including the postseason, but 49% of those pressures were either unblocked, clean up or pursuit plays. That's one of the highest rates in the league, so the money is a risk.”
PFF has a better review of the Pats signing Trent Brown after trading Marcus Cannon:
“Brown is younger than Cannon but has a track record of capable play in New England when he was there.”