Sunday, February 10, 2019
What's Next for the Patriots?
The three biggest questions going into the offseason are:
1. Will Rob Gronkowski retire? Nobody would begrudge Gronk if his decision was to call it quits because of the damage he's piled up over the years on his body. Gronk was the best tightend in NFL history. But if he does retire what do the Pats do to address the position?
2. Trey Flowers is an unrestricted free-agent and Belichick has a history of letting players walk to get the big money elsewhere. I hope he makes an exception for Flowers who is an elite defensive lineman. Belichick showed he was unafraid of paying a defensive player top dollar when he signed Stephon Gilmore to a big free agent deal. I hope he does the same for Flowers.
3. Trent Brown is another unrestricted free agent who was a big part of the team's success this season. Unless he takes a discount to be Tom Brady's blindside tackle I'm not hopeful that he doesn't sign a massive contract elsewhere.
Next season's team could be greatly helped by the return of injured LB Ja'Whaun Bentley and OL Isaiah Wynn two rookies who had their seasons cut short but should be ready for 2019.
Josh Gordon could be reinstated by the NFL as early as May. That's means he should be available in time for OTA's and training camp. Do the Patriots bring him back? I think they do. Gordon's failure was his own and I think his teammates are pulling for him to get well. And the coaches know he can produce on the field. I can see them bringing Gordon back but saying goodbye to Chris Hogan.
Greg Schiano will be joining the Patriots coaching staff as the new Defensive Coordinator. He replaces Brian Flores who is now the head coach of the Dolphins. Schiano and Belichick go way back and the McCourty twins played under Schiano at Rutgers so I think this transition will go rather smoothly.
Not to be overlooked is the fact New England has 12 draft picks in the upcoming NFL draft. These picks include 4 in the top 75 selections. Depth should be a strength next season.