What is going on with the Patriots?
As a Patriots fan, I have been spoiled by continuous dominance over damn near two decades! They just lost the Super Bowl by one possession and we are looking at the 2017 season as a failure. That is kinda ridiculous right? Oh, but if that was a failure, then this off-season calls for a rebuild in the front office. Pats fans like myself haven’t been through this sort of traumatic turmoil since before the Belichick-Brady era began. That being said, we could be overreacting. Still, there are things happening with the Patriots that are very very strange.
First, what do these off-season moves mean? Three key players have fled New England since free agency began in March. Those key players were Super Bowl XLIX hero (also SB LII absentee), Malcolm Butler, starting running back Dion Lewis, and go-to receiver Danny “Playoff” Amendola. Why were these players so willing to leave this storied franchise? It’s possible that they actually wanted to stay. I mean, we all know how Coach Belichick is about paying players and we can’t forget the “Next Man Up” mentality that the Patriots organization has. The Patriots have been very good at signing their players to team-friendly deals when the players’ value is low, and then letting go of the players when those contracts are up and their value has increased. This offseason seems different though. Is it really all about money and player value? I don’t think so. Malcolm Butler was already wanting to be traded last off-season, and after not seeing a single defensive snap in Super Bowl LII, I’m sure he was more than ready to get the heck out of New England. We also can’t forget that comment Gronk left on Danny Amendola’s farewell post on Instagram, “Be FREE. Be HAPPY.” Are players unhappy in New England?
You know what, if there are some players that don’t like the “Patriot Way”, then good riddance! As long as we have Brady & Belichick, we will be fine! Oh crap. Tom Brady reportedly hasn’t committed to playing next season. Also, both Brady & our second most impactful player, Gronk, haven’t shown up to the off-season program! While that might not be that big of a deal, it is certainly alarming. Brady has been the leader of this team in so many different ways for so long. If he isn’t attending the off-season program, who should we expect to be there? We have to remember that Gronk has also been considering retirement. I know that the Patriots have been able to plug players into their system and be just fine but we can’t lose Brady and Gronk in the same season with NO backup plan! With all this going on, I sure wish we hadn’t traded Jimmy G to San Francisco! Wasn’t that what Belichick was thinking though? Didn’t Belichick see the end coming for Brady and was adamant about not trading Garropolo? That’s what was reported anyway. Belichick was denied his wish by Owner Robert Kraft. Now the Patriots’ two best players are considering retirement and we have no insurance for it.
Every great empire has fallen. The Patriots have been the most successful organization in Sports over the last 18 years. Is it over? Am I gonna have to deal with a mediocre team for a few years? Personally, I don’t think this is the end of the era, but it could be the beginning of that end.