The New England Patriots are clearly on a revenge tour this offseason after ending their worst season in two decades, as they distributed a total of $ 146 million on Monday alone between the signings of Matthew Judon, Jalen Mills, Jonnu Smith and Davon Godchaux.
That doesn’t even take into account the Patriots’ other moves, as they’ve made some statement additions to their quarterback room, a wide receiving body and seven forwards.
The full breakdown of the deals is mind-boggling, but the way the front office structured them left New England plenty of room for the second and third waves of free agency.
According to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, the Patriots still have between $ 35 million and $ 40 million in cap, which means they could still swing for the fences and trade for Deshaun Watson if they wanted to.
If you recall, follow-up reports after Cam Newton signing suggested the Pats were still in the market for a quarterback.
After looking at his incentive contract, it’s easy to see why so many reports have been left to believe this is the case.
Even after their spending spree, the Patriots have the space to absorb Deshaun Watson’s contract.
Perhaps the most important nugget here is that Watson will only hit a cap of $ 10.54 million for next season before climbing to $ 35 million, $ 37 million and $ 32 million in the over the next four campaigns when its expansion goes into effect.
The Patriots weren’t on Watson’s initial list of favorite destinations, but it was revealed long before free agency started – you know, when they had one of the most boring rosters in the league. Now, however, New England is apparently a superstar quarterback (and perhaps a WR star, which they can still add) far from entering the championship conversation overnight.
Any bidding war for Watson would start from three first-round picks, with potentially a pair of second rounds added to soften the pot given that none of those firsts would be a high pick. It’s a steep price to pay, but what are a handful of draft picks really worth after the Patriots spent nearly $ 300 million (!)
Take Belichick’s lackluster draft history into account – why do you think he spent so much money? – and the Patriots wouldn’t miss those picks, especially with a top-five quarterback at Watson, who is under contract for the next five seasons and is still a year or two away from peaking, entering the bosom.
Now, is it possible that the Patriots decide to draft a young QB next month so they can pay off all those contracts later? Maybe, but these deals shouldn’t be too much of a concern for the league’s lucrative new TV deals that will kick in two years from now.
The ceiling will skyrocket once those contracts are signed and sealed, and New England has simply been too aggressive in recent weeks not to make a last ditch effort for Watson. Who knows? Maybe that was their master plan from the start.