Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, and email,He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
With Trent Brown moving on to the Raiders, is left tackle the Patriots’ biggest need right now? I don’t think it is because Isaiah Wynn should be ready to be plugged in there, so what is their biggest need? – Terry S.
First, can you think of a one-year partnership that worked out perfectly for both player and team like the Trent Brown situation? Darrelle Revis’s one-year stay with the Patriots when they broke their Super Bowl victory drought in 2014 is the only other similar situation I can think of where player and team both got exactly what they wanted.
The Patriots got Brown and the No. 143 pick in the draft last April from the Niners for the No. 95 pick. He won the left tackle job (and probably would have even if Wynn hadn’t popped his Achilles’ in camp), got coached up by Dante Scarnecchia, filled the void left by the departure of Nate Solder almost seamlessly, won a ring, and then Monday got a reported four-year, $66 million deal with the Raiders ($36.5 million guaranteed) that will make him the highest-paid tackle in football, surpassing Solder. That’s how you do it.
To actually answer the question, I don’t think left tackle is a void and the Patriots trust that Wynn, a first-round pick last year who cleared holes for Sony Michel at Georgia, will be ready to go. What is the biggest void? Probably receiver, with Phillip Dorsett, Cordarelle Patterson and Chris Hogan all hitting free agency.
I’d love to see the Patriots bring back the efficient Dorsett, but the former first-rounder should have suitors willing to pay him a wage that exceeds his value so far. Patterson is fun to have around – he was a much tougher runner than I knew – but someone might overpay for his versatility and explosiveness while disregarding that he isn’t always in the right place at the right time. Hogan has been a nice player here, but it’s time to move on.
I wasn’t one of those who thought bringing back Danny Amendola was a great idea – he’s more valuable as a leader now than as a player to be relied upon for consistent production – but I would like to see them sign a couple of receivers in free agency.
And I’ll admit it: When I see the reports that the Giants are discussing the possibility of trading Odell Beckham Jr., I do wonder whether the Patriots would get in on that, as unappealing as his salary might be.
I’d also like to see them draft a tight end fairly high, even if Rob Gronkowski does decide to play another year. But there aren’t a lot of holes here for the defending Super Bowl champs. And what voids they do have will be filled capably, even if they aren’t flashy acquisitions. The Brown pick-up last year was a perfect example.
But what does everyone else think? What is the Patriots’ biggest need? I’ll hear you in the comments.