The New England Patriots spent an unprecedented amount of money in the 2021 free agency market. However, despite their frivolous spending, it didn’t impress all fans. One of their most controversial acqusitions was Agholor on a two-year contract worth $26 million. The former Raiders wideout failed to convince that he could soar to an elite ceiling in Philadelphia. But Bill Belichick believes he could bring him to the next level.
“If I were a Patriot’s fan, I’d ask why would they do that to Cam?” one Eagles fan said. “Saw enough of Nelson for a lifetime in Philly. He could turn his career totally around and I’d forever doubt it.” Those are damning words and suggest that Agholor has everything to prove in New England. Agholor signed for the Patriots after his most productive year with the Raiders when he caught 48 passes for 896 yards and eight touchdowns.
In hindsight, Bears fans were naive to believe it would be any different. After the media seduced them into believing a trade for Russell Wilson was possible, they went and signed Andy Dalton from free agency. It was the ultimate catfish which is all the more hilarious for the rest of the NFL. In sum, it outraged their long-suffering fanbase and alienated many of them even more, which is saying a lot.
“Should have signed Mitch Trubisky. I honestly don’t get this move,” one fan raged. “We get an older QB with a similar throwing ability as Mitch, much less mobile…I JUST DONT GET IT! They could of at least made it fun and got Ryan Fitzpatrick.” Fans called for the heads of head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace because they mishandled the position so badly.
Fitzpatrick continued his quest to play for every NFL franchise by signing with the Washington Football Team in 2021. After a season where he was arguably the Miami Dolphins’ best quarterback, he left with the goodwill of fans in Florida. Washington snapped him out of free agency because they recognized his value as a short-term starter also for his presence in the locker room.
“Good for him! Our Dolphins rolled the dice with Tua last year and were still in the hunt despite him. I think we would have done better with Fitzpatrick. Love the guy in any team. Great leader!! We will miss him,” Miami fan Dustin Brehm said. Alongside his magnificent beard, Fitzpatrick does a solid job and could become a fam favorite in the nation’s capital.
“Tom called Gronk up after watching Bill make deals all day and told Gronk “free agency is closed.” Tera Victoria commented after the tight end signed up for another season. He agreed to another one-year $10 million season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after helping the franchise to a long-awaited Super Bowl. It was a deal that made many fans smile because Gronk is such a popular figure.
The season away from football really helped him because it allowed his body to recuperate. Meanwhile, Gronk’s presence makes Tom Brady a happier quarterback. The Buccaneers did very well to keep the core of their Super Bowl-winning roster together. Of course, $10 million is a lot to pay, but considering his name value and his performance in the showpiece game, it’s the going rate.
“Well, looks like the Patriots are going back to the old Gronkowski-Hernandez 12 personnel days! ” fantasy football writer Michael Fabiano tweeted. This came after New England obtained the two best tight ends in 2021’s free agency. The addition of Jonnu Smith and Henry was a statement of intent by the Patriots. However, critics questioned whether the Pats overpaid for the pair.
They agreed to pay Henry $37.5 million over three years. This is a lot, but the former L.A. Chargers star definitely adds an injection of quality into the New England offense. Furthermore, fans didn’t react with total positivity. Chris Morris said, “The only guarantee is that 10-yd passes will sail overhead, be behind them or at their shoelaces.” Looking at you, Cam Newton.
“Now if they somehow end up with a quarterback who doesn’t throw the ball to the other team or into the ground, I’ll be interested,” one Patriots fan tweeted after the news broke of Smith’s signature. New England continued their bid to conquer free agency by adding Smith to their roster. They stunned the NFL by handing the former Tennessee Titans wideout a contract worth up to $50 million.
The Patriots burned through money like it was going out of fashion. Smith never had more than 450 receiving yards in any of his four years with the Titans, so this is a lot of money for him. However, New England required weapons and clearly felt like he was value for money. To be fair, they haven’t enjoyed those numbers since before Rob Gronkowski’s first retirement.
“As long as Cam is the starting QB all these weapons don’t matter,” Patriots fan Chris Matchuk complained. “The people who constantly defend Cam’s play last year guaranteed did not actually watch him play. He just cannot throw the ball. All of this is for nothing if he is the starter.” However, Newton agreed to another one-year deal with the Patriots after he inked a contract worth up to $14 million.
This was unexpected after an uneven year with the Pats in 2020. There were thoughts that the likes of Washington, Chicago, or Denver might snap him up in free agency but instead, New England played it safe. This doesn’t mean he will be their starter in 2021 but with the addition of a ton of weapons, Newton no longer has excuses. Finally, it’s safe to say he didn’t convince the fans.
“I still can’t believe JJ Watt finally had the chance to play for a Super Bowl contender and chose to go to Arizona instead,” Houston Texans fan Adam Vaccaro bemoaned. Vaccaro had a point but there’s no doubt that the Cardinals pulled off a coup when they reunited Watt with DeAndre Hopkins. But this two-year, $31 million deal makes a lot of sense for the defensive end after he entered free agency.
First, it also reunited him with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Meanwhile, a defensive line with Watt and Chandler Jones is something to look forward to as two of the most effective pass rushers in the NFL. Furthermore, the addition of the popular Houston star could take young quarterback Kyler Murray to the next level. If this is what transforms the Cardinals into contenders then it will be brilliant.