Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.
A lot of my friends are still pretty pissed off at Bill Belichick for decisions made that may or may not have lost the Patriots a Super Bowl (i.e. benching Malcolm Butler). With all the negative publicity surrounding the Patriots recently fans are seemingly wavering in their confidence. There are a ton of dominoes that will need to fall one way or another before next season, which is what Patriots fans fear most.
Rob Gronkowski could be jumping ship to go hit people with steel chairs.
That would have sounded insane just a couple of months ago, but the longer we go the larger the possibility is that Gronk will walk away from the NFL to join the WWE and chase Hollywood. On the outside looking in that is preposterous because he’s arguably the greatest TE to ever play the game, only 28 years old, playing for an elite team with an elite QB, and coming off one of his healthiest seasons. But he’s also already made tens of millions of dollars and despite his relative health this season, another concussion notwithstanding, Gronk may be starting to think about his mortality. Is it worth it to play a few more years and possibly blow out my knee again, break my arm again, break my back again? People forget just how banged up this guy has been. With the recent run of NFL players retiring young these days it wouldn’t surprise me. It would borderline tragic as a Patriots fan to see Gronk step away, but I wouldn’t fault him.
The Patriots leading rusher Dion Lewis could be gone
Lewis sounded like a guy reserved to a fate of playing in Indianapolis or Tampa Bay next year in a recent podcast with Adam Schefter.
“I love it here…Hopefully it will work out, but at the same time, you can’t really think that way. You have to take care of yourself and your family…At the same time, I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket,” he said. “I know how the team likes to handle their business, and as a running back, you have to make the most of your opportunity…My main thing is just making sure I’m valued. That’s my biggest thing — to make sure I’m valued the way I value myself.”
Similar to many players that excel with the Patriots, Lewis bounced around the league for years before putting it all together and breaking out in New England. It would be a shame to see him leave as the Patriots are nearly undefeated with a healthy Dion Lewis on the field. Thats the key word there though; healthy. While another team may be willing to roll the dice on Lewis’ knees and pay big bucks to sign the RB, I don’t see Belichick doing the same.
Malcolm Butler is gone.
This one’s not even a question. I think Belichick could have burned Butler’s house down and we’d have a better shot at him coming back than we do after Bill benching Malcolm for the entire goddamn Super Bowl. Butler resigning with the Patriots would shock me more than him not playing in the Super Bowl.
Nate Solder is a free agent
He could return to protect Brady’s blind side, which might be the single most important job in all of New England, but he’s also dealing with some very serious real life issues as his young son continues to battle cancer. At some point the commitment it takes to play in the NFL may be more than Solder is willing to sacrifice at this point. I wouldn’t blame him if he walks away to spend more time with his family.
Danny Amendola is a free agent
After taking pay cuts each of the last 3 years, Amendola’s original 5-year contract is up. So while Amendola has clearly demonstrated he is a company man, does he want to play for less than market value yet again? He has carved out a folk hero-esque role here and seems to be BFFs with Tom Brady, so maybe he does, but if someone knocks down his door with a big money offer does that make him think twice?
Okay, thoroughly depressed now? Time for some SILVER LININGS!
Tom Brady is the reigning MVP
Whether you believe Alex Guerrero is the next coming of Christ or if you think the TB12 Method is a total crock of shit, you can’t deny whatever Brady’s doing is working. He’s the goddamn MVP at 40 years old and just threw for 500 fucking yards in the Super Bowl. As always with an older player, I fear the end of the road, but Brady has been so damn good its hard to know if thats coming next year or if he’ll be collecting Social Security checks while under center. Either way, life is good.
Julian Edelman will be back
He has been posting workout videos almost daily and while I cringe watching him sprint, jump, and cut on his surgically repaired ACL, I gotta say he looks great. All that while not even rocking a shirt, impressive stuff.
Dont’a Hightower will be back
The Patriots missed him in a bad, bad way this past season. Relying on the likes of 40-year old James Harrison and signing guys like David Harris (who just retired) to fill in for the likes of All-Pros like Kyle Van Noy. So Hightower will be back next year. Until he gets hurt again. But he will be back!
Brandin Cooks will have a full offseason to work with Tom Brady
Who knows, he may even get invited out to the TB12 Neverland Ranch in Montana to work out with the rest of the receiving corp! A lot of the Boston media was pretty down on Cooks, which I just do not get. Was he 2007 Randy Moss? Of course not, but he was one of the most immediately successful wide receivers Belichick has ever picked up behind only Moss and Wes Welker. Usually these receivers come into Foxborough and are a disaster because they just don’t have it anymore, they can’t figure out the system, or they fall out of Brady’s circle of trust. Joey Galloway, Ocho Cinco, and Brandon Lloyd. In his lone season playing with Brady, Cooks had 65 catches for 1,082 yards and 7 TDs. Not too shabby, now give him 6 months to study the playbook and work with Brady and Belichick.
Fear not, young padawan. The city of Boston is not falling into a sinkhole. The Patriots are still elite and while there are some holes to fill and some air needs to be cleared, they will still be one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LIII. That’ll do, pig.