After losing to the Philadelphia Eagles
in the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots
didn’t waste any time trying to improve their roster for another Super Bowl run. This past week, teams were allowed to start signing free agents, and New England players
and fans have to be excited about the team’s new acquisitions, which are listed below.
The Patriots kicked off the week by trading for defensive back Jason McCourty, who will be reunited with his twin brother in the secondary.
Once free agency began, the Patriots got busy. On Friday, the Patriots signed 29-year-old defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who was drafted 20th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
in 2011. After spending the first four years of his career in Tampa Bay, Clayborn signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015, and finished last season with 21 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits.
Clayborn, who was the best pass rusher available, should help improve New England’s defensive line, which wasn’t very good last year.
The Patriots also added depth to their running back position by signing former Cincinnati Bengals
running back Jeremy Hill. Hill saw his number of touches drop last year because the Bengals had too many running backs, and because of an ankle injury that sidelined him in November.
At 25-years-old, Hill can still be a productive back as long as he can stay healthy. If Hill doesn’t live up to expectations, the Patriots can easily move on from him because they signed him to a one-year deal with $150,000 guaranteed.
The Patriots addressed the loss of Nate Solder to the New York Giants
by signing offensive tackle Matt Tobin.
Tobin, who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles
in 2013, was a member of the Seattle Seahawks last season, but he did not start any of their games and played in only 81 offensive snaps.
Tobin likely won’t be a starter for the Patriots, but he will give them depth at a very important position.
On Sunday, the Patriots added more depth to their receiving corps, after losing Danny Amendola to the Miami Dolphins
during the week. New England announced that they traded for Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson, who was the team’s deep threat and kick returner.
Patterson finished last season with 31 receptions and 309 receiving yards. He also carried the ball 13 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
While Patterson hasn’t been a consistent wide receiver, he has been one of the best kick returners in the league, making the Pro Bowl as a kick returner and being named to the All Pro team in 2013 and 2016. With Tom Brady
throwing him the ball this year, maybe he can finally live up to his potential as a receiver.
While the Patriots have been improving their team through free agency, they still have some of their own players they will try to bring back.
Special teamer Matthew Slater is one of the most respected players on the team as well as one of the longest tenured. However, he remains unsigned, and visited with the Pittsburgh Steelers
last week. Fortunately, Slater left the Steelers without signing a deal, which means the Patriots still have a chance to resign him.
Adrian Clayborn - Defensive End
Drafted: First round (20th overall) in 2011 by Tampa Bay
2017 Team: Atlanta Falcons
2017 Stats: 16 games > 21 tackles, 9 1/2 sacks, 17 quarterback hits
Jeremy Hill - Running Back
: Second round (55th overall) in 2014 by Cincinnati
: Cincinnati Bengals
: 7 games >37 carries, 116 yards, zero touchdowns
Matt Tobin - Offensive Tackle
Drafted: Signed as undrafted free agent in 2013 by Philadelphia
2017 Team: Seattle Seahawks
2017 Stats: 15 games > zero starts, 81 offensive snaps
Acquired Via Trade Sunday
Cordarrelle Patterson - Wide Receiver/Kick Returner
: First round (29th overall) in 2013 by Minnesota
: Oakland Raiders
: 16 games > 31 catches (42 targets), 309 yards; 13 carries, 121 yards, two touchdowns