Patriots Add Another Big Name To Growing List Of Offseason Additions

By Jason Hall

March 16, 2021

The New England Patriots continue to make big offseason moves.

One day after offering a record-setting amount of $172 million during the first day of legal tampering in the 2021 offseason Monday (March 15), the Patriots reportedly agreed to a three-year, $37.5 million contract with former Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry, which includes $25 million guaranteed, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

The move comes hours after New England signed Jonnu Smith, the other top tight end on the free agent market, to a four-year, $50 million deal, making Smith the highest skill position player in franchise history.

According to Schefter, the Patriots planned to maximize their availability for the 2021 offseason ahead of time.

"Patriots made moves last year to maximize their availability for this year. They were planning for this off-season, and year, all along. And now it is here. And on it goes," Schefter quote-tweeted along with his initial tweet reporting the Henry deal.

On Monday, NFL Network's Albert Breer reported New England agreed to terms with nose tackle Davon Godchaux on a two-year, $16 million; outside linebacker Matthew Judon on a four-year, $56 million deal; defensive back Jalen Mills on a four-year, $24 million -- becoming the highest-paid Patriots defensive player in franchise history -- along with Smith's deal.

New England also agreed to a two-year, $26 million deal with wide receiver Nelson Agholor, Schefter reported.

The contracts aren't fully guaranteed, which means the Patriots may not actually spend all of the reported $172 million during the next four years. However, the reported total is the most spent by New England on free agents in any offseason during the last decade, Schefter reports.

it's an unusual tactic for the normally frugal franchise, albeit not surprising given the team's uncharacteristic struggles in 2020, which included missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

It's also worth noting that every single player reported to agree to terms with the Patriots on Monday -- excluding Agholor -- is a client of agent Drew Rosenhaus, who credited his strong relationship with head coach Bill Belichick for getting the deals done.

Prior to Monday, New England had already agreed to a one-year contract with starting quarterback Cam Newton and re-acquired offensive tackle Trent Brown in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders pending a one-year contract agreement with Brown worth up to $11 million.

Brown, 27, started for the Patriots in every game during the 2018 NFL season, which resulted in the franchise's most recent Super Bowl victory, before signing with the Raiders the following offseason.

Photo: Getty Images

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