Whether the Patriots win or lose Super Bowl LIII, their offseason strategy won’t change a bit. Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ brass already know which positions need shoring up, but whether those needs are filled via the draft or through free agency is still too early to tell.
The best online sportsbooks, found all in one place at Sportsbook Review, are already dealing Super Bowl odds for next season even though this one has yet to be decided. The Patriots are the co-favorites at +700 with their opponents this Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams. Let’s take a look at where New England will seek to upgrade or replace their current roster.
Quarterback – As much as Tom Brady and Belichick value professional clipboard holder Brian Hoyer, the need to groom a young backup becomes more pressing each year. If Brady holds true to his word, plays three more seasons and retires at age 45, then that would be the perfect timing for his talented understudy to assume the reins of the offense. Three years, maybe even two depending on how Brady feels, of tutelage under the master will be plenty of time to nurture their quarterback of the future. This will be done through the draft and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Pats tapped Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray at the end of the first round if Murray lasts that long.
Tight end – Like Brady, Rob Gronkowski is on the back-nine of his career, but there is a dearth of high-end tight ends in this year’s draft, especially with Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam spurning the NFL for one more year in a Tigers uniform. Nevertheless, expect the Pats to use a second to third-round pick on someone like Iowa’s tight end tandem of either T. J. Hockenson, Noah Fant, or Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. later down the ladder.
Safety – Devin McCourty may retire after Super Sunday, and if he does expect New England to look for a ball hawk to take his place. They may need to trade up to get one in the draft or find one floating in free agency, but McCourty’s exit will create a big void in the Pats’ secondary.
Linebacker/Defensive end – The Pats’ linebacking corps is a weak link with only Kyle Van Noy and Dont’a Hightower as having a relative lock on their jobs. New England could also use an edge rusher (what team can’t?) to increase the pressure from a pass rush that is currently ranked tied for 30th with the Giants in sacks. Belichick has drafted many defensive tackles in the first round but it’s time the Patriots got quick on the edge.
Some have conjectured that New England could also be looking to bolster its offensive line, but let’s not forget that Brady has been highly complimentary of his group of bodyguards and that does not include the team’s 23rd pick in last year’s draft Isaiah Wynn, an offensive lineman out of Georgia who was the fruit of their trade with the LA Rams for wide receiver Brandin Cooks. If Wynn is as good as advertised, he will be a welcome addition to an offensive line that has morphed from barely serviceable to one that is as good as any in terms of pass protection.
The big game has yet to be played and we won’t know which way the wind blows in terms of New England’s offseason acquisitions but there will be voids to fill and players moving on either through free agency, retirement or flat out losing their jobs. The oddsmakers at some of the best online sportsbooks, located over at Sportsbook Review, will be eagerly watching what the Patriots do, as well as every other team in the league, but until then let’s see if the Patriots can get a sixth Super Bowl title under Brady’s watch.