Throughout the offseason leading up to the 2021 season, the New England Patriots were aggressive in improving their offense. During free agency, the Patriots added Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, along with retaining Cam Newton. Even with re-signing Newton, New England would then select Mac Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, creating a quarterback competition ahead of Week 1.
When speaking about teams that could make the playoffs in 2021 that didn’t last season, the Patriots are a popular choice. Despite the uncertainty under center, New England does possess a defense that is getting a handful of guys back that opted-out in 2020, and their offensive line is back to being healthy.
Seeing that the Patriots are now a team willing to spend more money, let’s take a look at three star players that they could target sometime in the future.
Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
As previously mentioned, New England ensured that whoever was playing quarterback this season was going to have a much-improved supporting cast than the one they had in 2020. Smith, Henry, Agholor, Bourne, and Jakobi Meyers are all going to see the field often in 2021. That being said, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Patriots pursuing one of the big-name wideouts that are set to hit free agency in 2022.
Allen Robinson makes perfect sense for New England as he is playing under the franchise tag with the Chicago Bears this season. Considering that the Bears couldn’t get a deal done with Robinson in recent seasons, I imagine the Pro Bowl wideout will be testing the market next offseason. Even as Robinson nears 30 years old, he’s still one of the best wide receivers in the league.
Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another wide receiver that the Patriots could express interest in is Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Similar to Robinson, Godwin will be playing under the franchise tag in 2021. But unlike Robinson, the Buccaneers have shown a ton of interest in signing Godwin to a new contract in the future.
In the event that Tampa Bay is unable to sign Godwin long-term, New England should pounce on the opportunity to sign the 25-year-old wide receiver. There’s a good chance that Jones is the starting quarterback in 2022, so getting him a definitive No. 1 wide receiver would be beneficial for the young quarterback’s development.
Marcus Maye, S, New York Jets
The defense of the Patriots appears to be a deep group in 2021 as they get a few guys back that opted out of last season. New England also added Matt Judon and Adrian Phillips, along with reuniting with Kyle Van Noy, to strengthen their defense. As good as the defense should be this season, it could be Devin McCourty’s final year on the team or in the league in general.
Taking that into consideration, the Patriots may need to begin looking for a replacement at the free safety position. Marcus Maye of the New York Jets, who is playing under the franchise tag, would be a perfect addition to the defense. While a trade for Maye is possible if New York sputters to begin the season, New England could sign Maye in free agency next offseason.