What's Patriots' most glaring need? How do they address it?


Every Friday, Tom E. Curran, Phil Perry and Mike Giardi answer your Patriots questions in a joint mailbag, or FridayBag as they call it. After a Super Bowl loss, there’s plenty on the readers’ minds. Curran sits this one out but Perry and Giardi are here with the answers.

Got a question for the trio? Tweet them using the hashtag #FridayBag. Now, on to the Super postmortems:

From Twitter user @MikeParentLEAPWhat is the Pats most pressing needs and how will they be addressed? BBs bargain basement routine has left glaring holes in this team.

PP: The Patriots have plenty of needs, but I think their most pressing needs are offensive tackle, linebacker and...quarterback. Best way to address the tackle spot is to re-sign Solder. Linebacker could potentially be addressed in free agency. Would the Patriots be interested in Philly's Nigel Bradham, who can cover? Quarterback isn't a need for 2018, obviously, but it's probably time for the Patriots to start searching for the next guy. In what's expected to be one of the best quarterback classes in years, now may be the time to draft one. 

From Twitter user @RBeaginWho, in your eyes, is the most interesting free agent available for Pats and who is the most likely Pats target?

PP: I'd say before we start digging into this year's available free-agent crop, we all should be looking at New England's free-agents-to-be. The Patriots have a few potential holes that I'm not sure can be filled immediately by free-agent help. For instance, their best shot at having a good left tackle next year is, in my opinion, re-signing Nate Solder. With Malcolm Mitchell coming off of a knee injury that sapped his entire 2017 season, Danny Amendola still makes all kinds of sense as the team's No. 4 receiver. Those kinds of moves might be the most important ones they make. As far as free agents from around the league? Niners defensive end Aaron Lynch has great size and length and could fit as an end to mix into the rotation with Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise. Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry gets praised up and down by Bill Belichick twice a year every year, and he could be the team's slot of the future, but he'll be looking to break the bank. 

From Twitter user @TheHucklebuckDo you know anything about Sr. Kyle Lauletta, QB Richmond? Dad is former QB at Navy?

PP: Haven't had a chance yet to really watch a whole lot of any of the quarterback prospects just yet, but I know Lauletta impressed at the Senior Bowl. That'll help give his draft stock an early boost. The common knock on him right now is that he doesn't have much in the way of arm strength. That may not be a game-changer for the Patriots if they feel like he'll be helped by having some time to develop as a pro. But typically, in New England, where the most important games of the year are played in the cold, snow and wind, you want someone whose passes can cut through the conditions. On the plus side, he's thought to be a good decision-maker and accurate. He was 8-for-12 for 198 yards and three scores in the Senior Bowl.

From Twitter user @JoeNestor56Which current or former Patriot is most likely to join the XFL?

PP: Has to be Tim Tebow, right? He told SI.com that "2020 is a long way from now" and that he's focused on spring training with the Mets . . . But I'm pretty sure Vince McMahon would make it worth Tebow's while even if he doesn't throw a single football in the next two years. Dark horse: Jon Halapio. He was a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2014, and he's had two separate stints in the now-defunct Fall Experimental Football League, also known as the FXFL. And you know what? it worked out for him. He has a roster spot with the Giants. I think the XFL might actually be a spot where fringe guys like Halapio can keep their names circulating in the hopes of earning a shot in the league. 

From Twitter user @Badseedz187Will pats focus on size speed strength in drafting defensive guys this year or rely more on versatility?

PP: They'll continue to focus on both. The fact of the matter is, some of the biggest, strongest and most athletic guys are the most versatile. The Patriots have parameters that they look for when they're drafting so they won't stray from those. The character aspect is something that Bill Belichick has maybe emphasized a little more in recent years -- Urban Meyer's "I want to coach guys I like" quote from last spring is an indication of that -- and I don't see that stopping just because his defense let him down in the Super Bowl. The Patriots need NFL-caliber athletes but don't expect Belichick to suddenly devalue character or versatility as he approaches free agency and the draft. 

MG: Excellent question Andrew, and only Josh knows the answer. My thing here with Josh is there is no way he should have verbally agreed to be the Colts coach and get assistants in place and whatnot if he had even a shred of doubt. That concerns me. Can’t have a boss be that wishy-washy. Maybe he’s best served as a coordinator and nothing more. Certainly, that side of it is a huge benefit for the Pats. Not only Josh not leaving, but then Joe Judge and Jerry Schuplinski sticking around instead of going to Indy with McD. 

As for looking back on that loss as a good thing…man, they gotta find the next quarterback because even though TB12 is playing like he’s still in his prime, eventually Father Time wins. He always does. Get that guy and success will follow.


MG: Stephen, Bill loves all aspects of the job but I think when he’s done coaching, he’s done period. I think internally, the Pats would love to keep Nick Caserio and Josh McD together for the long term. They know each well, and no one knows more about the Pats operations than Nick. 

MG: You know and I know and everybody knows that he’s the greatest QB of all-time. Therefore Deflategate or no Deflategate, he’d be rolling in dough and headed for the Hall of Fame. Come on, Goose. You’re better than that.


MG: I’m not sure I’d be keen on trading for Sherman considering he blew out his Achilles. For a corner, that seems like a really crappy injury to suffer, especially now that he’s 30 or so. Plus, the idea of paying 10 million or more for Sherman and 15 or so for Gilmore seems like something the Pats wouldn’t do. A lot of people I talked to though Talib’s play slipped last year. What’s the cost in picks? Could you re-work his deal? 

MG: Hard to say because obviously salary demands and potential cap casualties/extensions haven’t become known yet but as I peruse the preliminary list, there are a few names that jump out. DE/OLB Trent Murphy of the Redskins could be a target and be budget friendly as he missed all of 2017 with a torn ACL. He’s on pace to be ready for camp and had 9 sacks in 2016. KC’s Dee Ford is also in that mold. He struggled with a back injury a year after recording double-digit sacks. A one-year prove your healthy deal? 

How about Eagles OLB Nigel Bradham? He’s a three-down backer who isn’t a liability in coverage. He might cost though.

Arizona’s Kareem Martin is another one of those edge guys (DE/OLB). Not spectacular. But considered a sound player in NFL scouting circles. 

There’s also the potential need for a corner because Butler is going, going, gone and Jon Jones and the injury he suffered at the end of the season. Jonathan Joseph is 34 but he can still play. One-year deal potential.


MG: Mike! It’s Solder to me because there is no succession plan in place. They drafted Tony Garcia but he was on the non-football injury list all year and by all accounts lost a considerable amount of weight during the course of the season (260 was a number I heard thrown away more than once). You don’t want to flip Marcus Cannon, in my opinion, and I’m not sure you can view LaAdrian Waddle as the next guy. When you draft late in the first round, that also doesn’t seem like the ideal spot to find a left tackle for now. 

As you well know, I might be the President of the Dion Lewis fan club. He is a game-changer. A stud. But I’m still not sure I’d ever give a running back a ton of guaranteed money. I might just be content to try and bring Burkhead back on short money, go with Gillislee for the final year of his deal and, of course, Jimmy White. 

I don’t foresee Alan Branch surviving after being a healthy scratch for the playoffs. Would think Dwayne Allen is a goner too.


MG: For starters, are we sure Jamarcus isn’t 350 pounds? And if he is, why not pair him with the Pillsbury Throwboy, Jared Lorenzen? Think of the buffet line. RG3 was walking around radio row at the Super Bowl politicking for a job. I believed in Manziel the player coming out of college (I didn’t know he had substance issues). I’d love to see him circle back.


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