The 2018 New England Patriots might have the best odds to win Super Bowl LIII, but the team has several concerns that need to be addressed.
There are more uncertainties surrounding the Pats than what many people might think there are.
Brady’s Future Is Uncertain
Tom Brady says that he could keep on playing for at least five years. While Brady’s continued effort will ensure the Patriots odds for the next season are good, that does not mean he will get any younger. Although Brady is the reigning MVP and is still a strong performer, he will turn 41 years of age in August. His regular physical routine and training habits are helping him to stay active and productive, but there is no real guarantee that he will continue to be as talented as he is now in the future.
Gronk’s Future Might Be Limited
Rob Gronkowski is one of the league’s top tight ends. He led the Pats in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns this past year. But Gronk is uncertain over what he will do in the future. The recent concussion he had during the conference championship game could be a real eye-opener for him. There are rumors that he could retire at just the age of 28. While it is true that Julian Edelman will return in 2018 while the Pats could always fine a talented receiver on the free agent market, the potential for Gronkowski to retire is a real worry.
How Will the Staff Look?
The decision by Josh McDaniels to stay as the offensive coordinator instead of leaving to coach Indianapolis answers one big question about how the Patriots’ staff will look in 2018. But defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is leaving to coach Detroit. Special teams coordinator Joe Judge might be leaving too. It is doubtful that the Pats would go outside the team’s system to find replacements. Linebackers coach Brian Flores has been considered to be a popular candidate for the defensive coordinator position.
Of course, there’s also the concern surrounding the future of coach Bill Belichick. Although he is a strong leader, there are worries over a possible rift between him and Tom Brady.
Free Agent Issues
Free agency is always something to consider. There are many outstanding free agents for the Pats to go after including Miami receiver Jarvis Landry and Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell. But there are many talented players who might leave the Pats too. Cornerback Malcolm Butler is expected to leave following his benching during the Super Bowl. Left tackle Nate Solder and running back Dion Lewis might leave too as they are both free agents.
Who Will Replace Brady?
Although Brady says he could keep on playing as the team’s quarterback for years, there are clearly worries as to who would replace him with Brady does retire or even if he is injured. At 32 years of age, current backup Brian Hoyer would not necessarily be an extensive replacement option. The Pats’ decision to trade Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco this past season will surely make an impact on the team’s future. Of course, there is the option to find a quarterback in the draft like Marshall’s Chase Litton or Western Kentucky’s Mike White.