New England Patriots

Despite Tom Brady’s departure, the Patriots still found ways to lure top free agents to Foxboro in their 2021 spending spree. The true value of New England as a free agent destination lies somewhere in between the Brady years and today, so you may think the recruiting pitches are different.

But as Albert Breer told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Monday morning, New England is still trying to appeal to free agents as they did during the Brady era: the promise of short-term success to improve their stock.

“I had a prominent agent tell me this story that blew me away,” Breer said. “He said that the Patriots are still operating like it’s five or six years ago where they can go in with premium free agents and say to them, ‘We’re not going to meet your price, but if your market craters, come back to us, and maybe we can do a one-year deal.'”

Breer added that while that approach may have worked when the Pats could pair free agents with the winningest quarterback of all time, it is a tough negotiating style with an inexperienced QB and a recent lack of playoff success.

“There is still this feeling that they are operating as if they are the Tom Brady Patriots, when a lot of the infrastructure from those years is gone,” Breer said.

The Patriots opened the wallets for Matthew Judon, Kendrick Bourne and Hunter Henry, proving that they’re willing to pay up and be a viable free-agent destination even without Brady. Moving forward, however, the evolution of the Patriots’ philosophy could determine how they fare on the open market.

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