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If you could have the Patriots land any one player in free agency, who would it be? I’d go with either tight end, Hunter Henry or Jonnu Smith. – Jim F.
Well, I was working on the answer to this question when Adam Schefter broke the news that the Patriots will sign Smith, the former Titans tight end, to a four-year, $50 million contract. So even if he wasn’t your No. 1 free agent choice, it’s a heck of a place for the Patriots to start spending that $65 million in cap room.
I imagine Smith was the No. 1 pick for many of you. Henry is a better pass receiver, but he has durability issues, which can happen to guys that play professional football for a living. Henry missed two games last season, four in ’19, and the entire ’18 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. Still, he’s a terrific player – he had 60 catches with the Chargers last season – and we all would have been happy had he been the tight end the Patriots spent on.
But Smith, though not the volume pass-catcher that Henry is – he had a career high 41 receptions for 448 yards this past season – is an excellent all-around tight end. He’s a very good run blocker, excels after the catch, and is just 25 years old. He should be a perfect fit here, so long as we don’t expect him to be the next Gronk.
Day 1 of free agency has been a good one for the Patriots. They also came to terms with run-stopping defensive tackle Davon Godchaux, formerly of the Dolphins, and at this writing are reported to be in the mix for Ravens pass-rushing linebacker Matt Judon. (Update: The Patriots and Judon have a deal, according to multiple reports).
As far as the player I’d most like to see the Patriots sign, I think I’d go with Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel. He’s versatile, has a history with Cam Newton, and would fit a huge need. The Patriots are apparently in the mix there, too, along with the Jaguars, Giants and the Washington Football Team.
But it’s already been a good day for the franchise. Kind of fun when they’re participating in the free-agent frenzy, isn’t it?
What does everyone else think? Who is the one player you want – or wanted – the Patriots to sign in free agency? I’ll hear you in the comments.
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