Patriots

Morning sports update: NFL insider explained why he expects the Patriots to ‘attack in free agency’

"Whoever the quarterback turns out to be, he's going to need some help."

Patriots Lions Football
Kenny Golladay is tackled by Stephon Gilmore during a Patriots-Lions game in 2018. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski

The Bruins lost to the Islanders 2-1 on Tuesday night. It’s a second loss in a row for Boston, who face the Rangers on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The game included a hilarious moment, when David Pastrnak’s interview was briefly interrupted by a Zamboni:

The Celtics return after the All-Star break on Thursday in a major matchup against the Nets at 7:30 p.m.

Dan Graziano on the Patriots in free agency: Several NFL teams used the franchise tag on Tuesday before the deadline passed, meaning that a few potential Patriots free agent targets won’t actually hit the market.

Yet even without Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin (who were both franchise tagged), the 2021 wide receiver and tight end free agent class is a strong one.

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As NFL insider Dan Graziano noted in a SportsCenter interview on Wednesday morning, the Patriots will likely be aggressive in the pursuit of upgrades at skill positions, even as the team’s future quarterback remains a mystery.

“Whoever the quarterback turns out to be, he’s going to need some help,” Graziano explained. “You mentioned Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin getting franchise [tagged], but there are a number of receivers and tight ends that are potentially of interest to the Patriots who did not get franchised. That includes Kenny Golladay from the Detroit Lions, Ju Ju Smith-Schuster from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“And the tight ends,” Graziano continued, “Hunter Henry from the Chargers and Jonnu Smith from the Titans. These are guys that could be beneficial to a Patriots offense that was one of the worst passing offenses in the entire league last year. They had Cam Newton at quarterback, but no help at receiver or tight end.”

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According to Graziano, the expectation is that Bill Belichick will try to make the most of New England’s opportunity in the 2021 offseason.

“This is an area of significant need that a lot of people around the league are expecting the Patriots to attack in free agency,” said Graziano. “They come this year armed with a lot of cap space that they did not have last year to rebuild that offense.”

NFL free agency begins when the new league year starts on March 17 at 4 p.m.

Trivia: If Bill Russell is elected to the Hall of Fame as a coach, he will join four people who have already been inducted as both a player and a coach. Two of them played for the Celtics. Can you name them?

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(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: They combined to win three NBA titles as head coaches between 1972 and 1976.

More from Boston.com:

Bill Russell is a 2021 Hall of Fame finalist as a coach:

Bruins reactions following Tuesday’s loss to the Islanders:

On this day: A decade ago, UConn’s “Cardiac” Kemba Walker delivered a step-back buzzer-beater to beat Pittsburgh in the Big East Tournament. The Huskies won five games in five days to win the tournament, going on to win the national championship.

Daily highlight: Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo delivered a save of the year candidate on Tuesday.

Trivia answer: Tommy Heinsohn and Bill Sharman

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