The duck boats have stopped, Boston is back to work, and Belichick is watching film. These are all things we know, but what will happen in the future for the Patriots is still up in the air. Patriot fans it is time to come back to earth, it was the Falcons that lost that game not the Patriots that wont the game. Granted Brady is the G.O.A.T and he showed every bit of it in the final half of football in the 2016-17 season. Let's be honest though the Falcons did everything in their power to lose the biggest game of their lives. Honestly, out of the 30 other NFL teams that were not playing that night I would say over half would have come back and beat the Falcons. This is the great thing about sports though, we will never know and the Patriots did it so can’t take anything away from them.
The future is not as bright as it once was for the Patriots. Going into next year the Patriots are the favorites to go back-to-back, shocker I will tell you now it won’t happen. This isn’t me being biased, it is me being realistic. The last time a team won a Super Bowl back-to-back was 12 years ago, it was the Patriots, but a much different Patriot team than they have now. Now let’s take a look even further in the future…
Realistically Brady has two more great years of football and maybe 1 to 2 more years of serviceable football. In the first half of the Super Bowl Brady was under fire constantly and showed he is a mere mortal when the defense can get some pressure on him, we all knew this though. As he gets older he will not be able to take these hits game in and game out no matter how much avocado ice cream he eats. Would I love to see Brady stroll out onto the field at the age of 45, YES absolutely, but once again it is not realistic. As a fan of the game I want to see him ride off into the sunset and finish strong because he is the greatest NFL QB up to this point.
The free agents that will be leaving the Patriots this year is another reason why this team will not repeat. Martellus Bennett said it best, “I will hit the free agent market being a Super Bowl champ, teams overpay for that kind of stuff.” To me that does not sound like a guy that plans on coming back to the Patriots. Oh, but you have Gronk, yeah, guess again. The Patriots have a TE that has had multiple back injuries, leg injuries, and arm injuries. He won’t be the same Gronk as you all know and love. The defensive side of the ball now, Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler both hit the market and will be seeing contract up to 10 million dollars, will the Patriots pay? History says no. Malcolm is a restricted free agent, but how much will he be offered from other teams and will it be matched? Logan Ryan will not be back, the Patriots will not overpay for a below average CB, but another NFL team will. Lastly, most importantly Hightower he will receive offers up to 12 million dollars, do the Patriots have someone of his caliber on the roster right now, no, but they do have Eladon Roberts. Belichick has talked about Eladon becoming a great young linebacker in the future. This leads me to believe Hightower will not be back and Belichick will once again move on from a great defensive talent. This has worked for him so far, but is this the straw that breaks the camel's back? The Patriots have 60 million in cap space and will have to make decision about Blount, Bolden, Branch, Devlin, Harmon, Long, Mingo, Scruggs, and Vollmer. Some of these guys will be back, but not all.
Patriot fans enjoy what you have because your great 16 year run will come to an end and before you know it you will be like the Bruins, firing their coach on another team's parade day (cowards). Remember the teams before Belichick and Brady? No of course not because your team has only been a true organization for a short period of time. Once again I am a realist and I am just preparing you for your dim, dim, dim future.