New England Patriots

Jerod Mayo sets bold expectation for Patriots entering free agency

The new Patriots coach sounds eager to spend this offseason.

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Jerod Mayo is a bit more forthcoming than his former boss.

The New England Patriots' recently-anointed head coach, who succeeded Bill Belichick earlier this month, was asked Monday morning about his team's abundance of cap space entering the offseason.

Mayo's response? Let's spend that money.

"We’re bringing in talent, 1,000 percent,” Mayo told WEEI's The Greg Hill Show. "Have a lot of cap space, and cash. Burn some cash."

Mayo delivered that last line as a half-joke, but it's clear he's intent on making some big changes in New England. The Patriots boast more than $66 million in cap space, per Over The Cap (fourth-most in the NFL) and have the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, so they're well-positioned to add premium talent.

The key, of course, will be adding the right talent. The Patriots went on a massive spending spree prior to the 2021 season but had as many misses (Nelson Agholor, Jonnu Smith) as hits (Matthew Judon, Hunter Henry) and found themselves in the AFC's basement three years later. They have plenty of needs to fill with this year's budget, most notably at quarterback, offensive tackle and wide receiver.

Despite seemingly hinting at drafting a QB with the No. 3 pick last week, Mayo suggested all three of the above positions are options for the Patriots in April's draft.

"We're going to take the best available player for the biggest need on the team; offensive line, receiver, quarterback -- pick your [choice]," Mayo said.

Free agency comes before the draft, however, and there's a lot riding on New England's player signings -- which means the Patriots need to prioritize finding a new offensive coordinator following Bill O'Brien's departure, in addition to firmly establishing a lead executive in the personnel department.

When asked if he had autonomy in the Patriots' search for offensive and defensive coordinators, Mayo confirmed it's "all me," but added that director of player of personnel Matt Groh and director of college scouting Eliot Wolf are "helping" him.

Will either Groh or Wolf earn the official title of Patriots general manager, and who will they settle on as their new OC? Those answers could go a long way toward determining how New England "burns" its cash this winter.

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