Patriots, Belichick Allergic to Slowing Down
The Patriots have been busy this offseason. Let’s take a quick look at what they have been doing and make some assessments of this.
Let’s start off on offense with the signing of former Colts Tight End Dwayne Allen. This past season Allen posted 406 yards and six touchdowns. Those are some pretty decent numbers to have, as the Pats were looking for someone to be equivalent to Martellus Bennett and be a backup to Gronk. At 6-foot-3 it helps to have another tall addition to the team. What is more intriguing about this is that Belichick was quoted saying Allen is “the best blocking Tight End in the league.” It’s interesting that Belichick said that because he will be looking for Allen not as a replacement for Gronk but more so to block and help out the offensive line. Overall this was solid move to help strengthen a solid offense the Patriots already have.
Next is the trade to get former Saints Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks. Cooks had very impressive numbers last season with 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns. Many Patriots fans were excited about the addition of Cooks because he is a fast player and a excellent deep ball threat. What many fans think is the Patriots will use Cooks alongside Hogan to stretch the field now having two receivers that can go deep. Cooks is a reliable receiver who will help make the offense even more powerful. This may create an issue for Danny Amendola, who just took a pay cut to remain on the team. Be on the lookout for more on that, otherwise, a great move by Belichick.
Lastly on the offensive side of the ball, let’s look at former Bengals Running Back Rex Burkhead. Ending the season with 344 yards and two touchdowns, he was more of a special teams player. Things could change for Burkhead as ESPN’s Mike Reiss said Burkhead will be “viewed as a key cog, both offensively and on special teams.” Burkhead is already being compared to as being similar to Woodhead in the sense of a small Running Back who fights for every yard. His highlights are pretty impressive to look at as you can see here. Considering reports that LeGarrette Blount will most likely leave, this is a smart move on Belichick’s part.
Now comes the defense. If you thought a number one ranked defense couldn’t get any better, you would be surprised. Belichick was able to keep the best Linebacker and top free agent Dont’a Hightower on the team despite other teams (Steelers and Jets) in pursuit of him. He also brought in two Defensive Lineman to help out. Former Ravens player Lawrence Guy who had one sack and 28 tackles this past season. He will be playing along with the other new Defensive Lineman former Panthers player Kony Ealy. Ealy had five sacks, 32 tackles and one interception last season. A great pair of Defensive Lineman to get. Former Bills Cornerback Stephon Gilmore came over to the Patriots as well. He was selected to go to the Pro Bowl, had five interceptions and 42 tackles last season. A great Cornerback to make up for the loss of Logan Ryan and all great moves that were made.
However, there is one question that is on every Patriots Fans mind: what is going on with Malcolm Butler?
Butler has been talked about a lot during the offseason, often being connected to trade rumors with the Saints. Butler is a Restricted Free Agent this offseason. This means that he can’t just leave the Pats and go and join any team he wants. Belichick put a first round tender on him, which means if any team wants Butler they will have to trade the Pats a first round pick. This works for the Patriots because if they lose Butler, they can get a Cornerback in the draft and if they keep him then they have two star Cornerbacks. Butler did say he was “extremely frustrated” with the Patriots after the signing of Gilmore, which is understandable. Butler himself was looking for a pay raise, maybe not an enormous one, but a bigger one nethertheless. Instead the Pats paid a good amount of money ($65,000,00 over five years) to sign Gilmore. It’s hard to to find a constant story on what is going on with Butler with reports stating that he is “asking for the moon and more” from a close Patriots source, while Butler’s agent will immediately come out saying “that’s not true”. It seems most likely that Butler will walk and no longer be a Patriot, but nothing is certain yet.
This offseason has generally been great for the Patriots, but once they get the issue with Malcolm Butler resolved they will be all set. Belichick has yet again set up the Patriots to have another great season.