3 moves the Patriots have to avoid this offseason

February 8, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins on FanDuel on Radio Row in the Media Center at the Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the season, the New England Patriots must determine which positions they can renew with new personnel as well as free agents to re-sign.

The NFL year kicks off on March 15, and the Patriots are already making smart moves in anticipation of the cap expansion.

The Patriots couldn’t cut tight end Jono Smith, but they did manage to offload him to the Atlanta Falcons for a seventh-round pick. New England made the right move in this situation, getting as much as they could by taking back $4.4 million in cap space.

Although the Patriots are safe in the tight end position with Hunter Henry, there are many other important holes on the roster that can be difficult to fill. Plus, the Patriots can always go wrong the way they did with Smith, signing a big-name player in free agency that simply doesn’t work out.

Here are three moves the Patriots must avoid if they are to continue rebuilding in the right direction.

3. Bring in a wide receiver who doesn’t fit into their blueprint

The New England staple, according to Patriots media, has become a cliché in the Bill Belichick era: The Patriots could always use an upgrade at wide receiver.

Mac Jones could use help as he develops, and Belichick tried to address that in last year’s draft by taking Tyquan Thornton. Still, it was the running game that thrived last season, not the passing game. This makes the siren song of free agency impossible to ignore, with players like Odell Beckham Jr. among the crowd. and Jarvis Landry.

Belichick has offered proven contracts to players like Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon, but his most successful push to a big name receiver has been a trade for Randy Moss. As of now, it would be better for the Patriots to stick with Jacoby Meyers than trade for, say, DeAndre Hopkins.

Although a trade for Hopkins was already considered unlikely, it was also widely overlooked that bringing Hopkins to New England would mean a reunion with Bill O’Brien, which did not go so smoothly the first time around.

Rather than take a chance on someone who might not be a fit, the Patriots should focus more on bringing back Jacoby Meyers, who has successfully taken the mantle from Julian Edelman as the Patriots’ reliable slot receiver.

It always seems like the Patriots could use a better receiver, but Belichick knows better than to take a chance on someone who doesn’t fit their scheme.

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