BOSTON (AP) – Last week, when Kendrick Bourne first joined the Patriots’ New England team, he did not know what to expect.
In his four seasons in San Francisco, the 25-year-old received from afar the “stuck” privilege he often won, but it seemed to be devoid of joy or relief.
It did not take long for those notions to melt away after he signed up for the Patriots’ growing free agent class, which will be tasked with erasing the stigma of the infamous 7-9 season in 2020.
“On the first day in the building, I could feel how natural our connection between the players was when we first met,” Bourne recalled on Monday. “It was just natural energy, positive energy.”
He left that day in a new mood.
“It simply came to our notice then. “I can honestly see that,” Bourne said. “I think it will be a wonderful year. And I can’t wait. “
Welcome to the new beginning of the New England Patriots, in which one of the league’s most economical regimes has suddenly become one of its biggest spenders.
New England entered the free agency with a salary cap of about $ 69 million, lagging behind only Acks Exonville ($ 74 million) and Indianapolis ($ 71 million).
As of Monday, the Patriots had already made 22 deals as the new league year began on March 17, reaching an agreement with 19 free agents and adding another through trading.
The group is collectively guaranteed a salary of about $ 175 million during their contracts, which is roughly equal to what team owner Robert Kraft paid to acquire the team in 1994.
The increase in spending gives new additions, such as former Eagles defender Ale Alain Mills, who has signed a four-year, $ 24 million deal, a lot of confidence.
“It shows that they not only believe in us as individuals, but also in the guys who signed us, in the team we already have,” Mills said. “As soon as the project is launched, we will make changes to those additions. And that’s all you want as a player. “
New England has benefited from a talented free agent market that has lost revenue due to COVID-19 last season due to a reduction in the league’s salary threshold. That left many teams with less dollars to spend. Those like the Patriots, who really had cover space, struggle with fewer rivals.
It’s a sign that the six Super Bowl champions are focused on putting 2020 behind them.
In an interview with NBC Sports, Kraft compared this off-season to stock market views.
“You can take advantage of the corrections in the market, the inefficiencies, that’s what we did here,” Kraft said.
What they just had is a group that fills in the gaps on paper, which were more pronounced in the previous season, which marked the first meeting of the “patriots” in the playoffs since 2008.
Quarterback Cam Newton is back on a one-year deal after his first spotted season when epidemic restrictions robbed him of an off-season schedule. He also struggled in the transition game without an experienced or reliable receiver.
It needs to be upgraded with a Bourne և Nelson Agholor supplement receiver, as well as a solid-fitting receiver with Jonnu Smith և Hunter Henry.
Henry said he had already spoken to Newton and worked with Arrett Steedham in California on Monday, who served as Newton’s backup last season.
Henry said he thought Smith «” complemented each other tremendously “.
“I feel like they put a close end to the map again,” Henry said of the Patriots’ history in that position. “It simply came to our notice then. How does crime use a strong end? “I’m very excited.”
Although Kraft has had no problem opening the checklist since this season, he says the real work has yet to begin.
“We’ll see,” he told NBC Sports. “Nothing is guaranteed, I know that very well. But we are not in business to do business. We are in this business to win. ”
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