The New England Patriots are set to be one of the most captivating teams to watch in the upcoming NFL season.
Speculation is mounting around the status of legendary head coach Bill Belichick, as a third non-playoff season in four years could potentially jeopardize his position within the franchise he transformed into a dynasty.
Quarterback Mac Jones also finds himself in a pivotal position, facing the challenge of redeeming himself after a frustrating sophomore year. With the return of Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator, Jones has no room for excuses as he aims to prove his worth.
Additionally, numerous veterans on the Patriots’ roster may find themselves fighting for their positions during training camp and preseason. Among them is veteran cornerback Jalen Mills, whose $24 million contract could be a point of contention.
Joe Tansey of Bleacher Report suggests that the Patriots might explore a trade involving Mills due to the team’s surplus of talented cornerbacks and safeties:
“The Patriots drafting Christian Gonzalez in the first round could spell trouble for Jalen Mills. With Gonzalez and Jonathan Jones expected to start at cornerback, and Kyle Dugger and Jabrill Peppers favored to start at safety, Mills may lose out on a roster spot to Adrian Phillips or rookie Marte Mapu at safety. There doesn’t appear to be a path for him to serve as a backup cornerback, given the presence of Marcus Jones and Myles Bryant.”
Tansey further speculates that Mills, even with an impressive preseason, could find himself on the outside looking in for a starting spot, making him an enticing trade option. The market for Mills would depend on a combination of injuries and performances during preseason games, potentially resulting in a move if the right opportunity arises.
Two years ago, the Patriots signed Mills, a former Philadelphia Eagle and Super Bowl 52 champion, to a four-year deal worth $24 million. Although the Patriots released him earlier in the offseason, they brought him back on a more affordable contract a few days later.
Throughout his career, the 29-year-old Mills has accumulated seven interceptions, 52 pass defenses, and 361 combined tackles. In his 10 appearances for the Patriots last season, he secured two interceptions and 15 pass defenses.
As the Patriots gear up for the new season, all eyes will be on the future of Bill Belichick and the intense battles for roster spots. The outcome of these storylines will undoubtedly shape the team’s performance and potential success in the upcoming NFL campaign.