The worst-kept secret in New England Patriots fandom is that Bill Belichick is the worst owner in the NFL. He has long been known as a defensive mastermind and a salty competitor, but his ineptitude as a general manager is beginning to show: the Patriots’ roster is aging, and the team is having trouble attracting marquee free agents. It’s unclear how long he can coast on the same five or six studs, so Belichick must start focusing on keeping his own players around.
“”As an organization, you can’t help but feel that way,” Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said Thursday in an interview on WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan” show. “You’re used to getting the best from everybody and you know we’re going to work hard. We’re a good football team, and we’ve got to perform at a high level if we want to win a championship.”
With the NFL season kicking off this week, Bill Belichick and his Patriots are embracing the idea of spending big in free agency and trading for high-priced veterans. They’re not quite as reckless as they were when Belichick and Tom Brady took over the team in 2000, but they’re still willing to take risks to win.. Read more about bill belichick spending and let us know what you think.
Do you believe Bill Belichick knew he needed to improve his tight end? For a New England Patriots attack that once boasted the dominating combination of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, the position transformed from a glaring deficit to an apparent strength in the space of a single offseason.
Belichick, on the other hand, spent a lot of money on two big-name tight ends with questionable longevity. And, according to the newest Hunter Henry report, it’s time for New England’s veteran coach to start thinking about his $37.5 million investment.
The Patriots have high hopes for their new tight end combination.
Defensive coordinators used to have a field day with the Patriots’ tight ends.
Those days, however, are long gone.
Belichick hasn’t gotten enough productivity out of the tight end position since Rob Gronkowski’s last season in New England. The Patriots haven’t come close to replacing him since the future Hall of Famer retired.
However, given how much money Belichick spent to address a glaring flaw, New England’s new tight end duo of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith must have big ambitions. Both players received free-agent contracts for an average of $12.5 million per year, indicating that the Patriots intend to use Henry and Smith heavily in the passing game.
So, what did Belichick gain when he signed the best two tight ends available?
Henry has 196 receptions for 2,322 yards and 21 touchdowns in the NFL. Before being traded to New England for a big-money contract, the 2016 second-round selection started 49 games for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Smith, on the other hand, had a fantastic line of 114/1,302/16 in 53 starts with the Tennessee Titans. The athletic tight end, a third-round selection in 2017, received a significant boost when he signed a four-year, $50 million deal with $31.25 million guaranteed.
Bill Belichick must now begin to be concerned about his $37.5 million investment.
Hunter Henry, a tight end with the New England Patriots, steps onto the field during training camp as Bill Belichick talks from the stage. | Getty Images/Maddie Malhotra | Getty Images/Kathryn Riley
By signing Smith straight away, Belichick made a huge statement. He upped the stakes even further by signing Henry to a three-year, $37.5 million contract.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, spending large sums of money on the 26-year-old already seems to be a risky move.
Henry struggled to remain on the field throughout his time with the Chargers, despite putting up respectable statistics. A number of ailments have restricted the 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end to just 55 of a potential 80 regular-season games, including a ruptured right ACL and a tibia plateau fracture in his left knee. It hasn’t been long since Henry has had some difficulties with the Patriots.
According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, one of the team’s key free-agent signings sustained a shoulder injury during practice on Sunday. Henry is getting an MRI to see how bad the damage is.
“While the injury does not seem to be severe at this point, it is uncomfortable, and Henry may miss time in the preseason, according to sources,” Reiss wrote.
Henry had an ankle ailment prior to injuring his shoulder while participating in structured team exercises. Although he soon recovered, the fact that he was hit early in the game didn’t help to dispel the notion that he was prone to injuries.
Now that his shoulder is bothering him, it’s reasonable to wonder whether the veteran tight end will be able to keep up with his hefty deal. If injuries keep Henry from achieving his full potential, like they did with the Chargers — he’s never been named to the Pro Bowl or All-Pro team, and he’s never played more than 16 games in a season — Belichick would seem stupid for signing a guy with significant durability issues.
Due to Hunter Henry’s durability problems, Devin Asiasi’s growth will be even more critical in the future.
Devin Asiasi, who was activated from COVID reserve yesterday, is seen above. The 2020 third-first rounder’s practice of the summer. pic.twitter.com/SHHQPlf9r9
August 8, 2021 — Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN)
With Henry already struggling with a setback and 2020 third-round pick Dalton Keene on injured reserve, the focus should go to Devin Asiasi, a tight end with plenty of upside.
He, like Keene, was drafted in the third round by the Patriots last year. Asiasi, like his athletic teammate, struggled to live up to expectations as a rookie.
Given his draft pedigree and talent, though, the former UCLA star has the potential to be a major player in New England. The 6-foot-3, 257-pound tight end possesses good size and pass-catching ability despite his lack of top speed. Behind Henry and Smith, Asiasi will battle with veteran Matt LaCosse for the third place on the depth chart.
Following a lackluster debut season that prompted doubts about his long-term future with the club, the 23-year-old is entering the most crucial phase of his football career.
Will Asiasi be able to meet the challenge? Or will he end up like so many other draft picks who don’t pan out?
Given some of the concerns regarding Hunter Henry’s ability to remain healthy, the Patriots must hope that their young backup improves dramatically in year two.
Pro Football Reference provided all statistics. Spotrac provided all contract information.
RELATED: Bill Belichick Just Lost a Brutal Season-Ending Injury to an Underrated Free-Agent Addition
Is it time for the Patriots to officially start worrying about their $37.5 million investment in Tom Brady? Last season, the quarterback led New England to their fifth Super Bowl title, but he has yet to show any signs of slowing down. In fact, he is currently on pace to throw for more yards in 2018 than he did in 2017—and he is still getting better. The head coach is clearly not worried about this. In fact, he is not worried at all.. Read more about new england patriots coach and let us know what you think.
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