The New England Patriots are in last place in the AFC. It's kind of shocking how far this team has fallen given how much success it has enjoyed over the last 23 years.
There were many seasons since 2000 when a 10-6 record was considered a "bad year." Now the bad years are actually bad, and the problem for the Patriots is the 2023 campaign, as awful as it's been, has the potential to get a lot worse.
The Patriots are 2-6 and still have the toughest remaining schedule of any NFL team. It wouldn't be shocking if they won only four or five games. However, the chance to do a complete reset is not far away. With an abundance of salary cap space and what projects to be a valuable 2024 first-round pick, the upcoming offseason is the Patriots' opportunity to quickly fix a lot of what ails the roster.
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But who's going to be spearheading that process? That was among several topics discussed on the latest Patriots Talk Podcast with Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry.
"The Patriots are in an interesting spot," Curran said. "And what's also interesting about it is, if you're Robert Kraft, you now have all these players with expiring contracts, you have have $100 million in cap space, you have what almost certainly will be a top-10 pick, and maybe a top-five pick, given the injuries that have impacted the team. This is the perfect time, if you want to chart the rest of your decade and understanding that Bill Belichick might not be your long-term coach, to move on. This is the perfect time.
"Why let the guy who might be leaving soon, whose contract expires in 2024, why let him spend the $100 million? Why let him have the opportunity to pick the next quarterback? Why let him make the decision on what to do at No. 4, if it's that pick? Why let him decide on Kyle Dugger, Josh Uche and everybody else? The timing, the logistics around this 2024 offseason, all point to clean break, fresh start."
New England Patriots
Perry agreed with Curran that the upcoming offseason gives both sides an opportunity to part ways at a time that makes sense.
"I think you're 100 percent spot on," Perry said. "With the way the roster is built, the assets they have moving forward, the way the coach has performed, and his age -- I think it's fair to add that as well -- you have to think about this as clean breaking point if it continues to trend in this direction."
It is possible that Belichick could coach next season. He's under contract for 2024. It's also not completely out of the realm of possibility that the Patriots turn their season around. The Detroit Lions were 1-6 in 2022 and finished 9-8, barely missing the playoffs in the NFC.
But based on how poorly the Patriots have played so far, plus the difficulty of their upcoming schedule, it's unlikely we see that kind of resurgence from the team.
Also in this episode:
- Breaking down the Patriots' decision to stand pat at the trade deadline
- What will the Patriots' 2024 offseason approach be?
- How much does Robert Kraft care about the fans' opinions of the team?
- Would the Patriots ever trade Bill Belichick?