As different groups expended treasured draft capital or lavished costly contracts on quarterbacks, the Patriots waited. They stayed away from Marcus Mariota and Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston, all of whom signed short-term offers as backups, and opted to not draft a quarterback — although, as Belichick indicated afterward, that was not essentially by design.
The Patriots have lengthy cultivated a popularity as a crew that skirts the boundaries of honest play, from their involvement within the so-called Spygate and Deflategate scandals to their most up-to-date contretemps, wherein they were fined $1.1 million and docked a 2021 third-round draft choose for videotaping the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline throughout a sport final December in Cleveland. This transfer for Newton — leaked, because it occurred, minutes earlier than the videotaping punishment was levied — grants New England one more edge.
For Newton, the attraction of the Patriots is easy: the chance to resurrect his profession with a banner franchise, for a legendary coach, with a forgiving depth chart. If he wished to stay a starter, New England offered his most suitable choice. But whereas Newton upgrades the place, it’s unclear how a lot he might help rework the remainder of the roster.
Beyond Brady, the Patriots additionally misplaced, amongst others, the star tight finish Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to play together with his buddy in Tampa Bay; the defensive stalwarts Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins; kicker Stephen Gostkowski; and the offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. The Patriots will not be rebuilding however somewhat reinventing themselves, with a coach who likes to tinker.
With Brady gone, the one individual able to cloaking the Patriots’ deficiencies is Belichick, who’s entrusted with squeezing a 12th consecutive division title from a crew that can resemble none that he has overseen throughout his time in New England.
After each teaching milestone, Belichick, who has gained the third-most video games in league historical past (273), deflects questions on his legacy and redirects reward onto his gamers. He has gained with an array of stars, in several methods, however by no means with out Brady, his tether for twenty years. Given his alternative, Belichick didn’t choose Bubba Crosby. He picked a former star, an electrifying and charismatic presence. He selected Cam Newton.