The New England Patriots had a rough 2020 t0 say the least, recording their first losing season in 20 years. However, things are looking up for 2021.
The Patriots were dealt with some serious setbacks last offseason. The first and most obvious one being the loss of (then) 6 time winning quarterback Tom Brady.
Of course, at the time the effect of Brady’s move to Tampa was not fully realized. There were the typical naysayers who felt that Belichick would be fine without him but Brady would struggle in Florida. Well, we all know how that turned out.
To add to this, the Pats also had to deal with a league high 8 players deciding to opt out of the 2020 season over coronavirus concerns. Included in this group of 8 was Patrick Chung and Dont’a Hightower-both defensive superstars who were integral parts of New England’s recent Super Bowl runs.
It wouldn’t be accurate to blame the Patriots’ lackluster 7-9 season on this, but it definitely played a part. However fortunately for New England, they should be set up for a brighter 2021.
Dont’a Hightower, Patrick Chung, and Marcus Cannon All Set to Return in 2021
Free agency hasn’t started, but the #Patriots are already getting some reinforcements. Their key opt-outs from 2020 — including LB Dont’a Hightower, S Patrick Chung, and OT Marcus Cannon — are planning to be back for 2021, sources say. Physically, all are in a good place.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2021
As reported by Ian Rapoport, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon should be back with the team soon. This would definitely bring some much needed reinforcement to the team, especially on defense.
However, although Hightower is ready to return, it is still unknown if New England will bring him back. If they release him, it would clear $9.95 million in cap space.
The Pats are already in a decent position in terms of cap space, so this move could give them a chance to build something from the ground up.
As an outsider looking in, the Patriots could definitely turn things around, especially if they address the QB position.