As the Patriots get set to continue in free agency and even look forward to the May NFL Draft, the team already is being picked by many of the experts as the favorite to win Super Bowl LI.
Top betting sites like http://sports.williamhill.com/ have the Pats at 8-to-1 to again win the championship, and with already some key moves this offseason, that again looks like it could happen.
First, and probably the most important move the team could make, the Patriots signed QB Tom Brady to a two-year contract extension. Getting Brady under wraps and making him happy is always critical.
He’s the lifeblood of the Pats, and now it looks like he will finish his career with New England unless something totally crazy happens. Look for Brady to play two more years, and for both he and coach Bill Belichick to ride off in the sunset together.
The team also on March 10th announced they have signed linebacker Ramon Humber, who is a solid vet who can step in and play a solid role as a backup in the linebacking core.
Last season in 14 games with New Orleans, he had a sack, and played a decent amount on both defense as well as special teams. He was originally part of the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2009.
There were two more moves for the Pats that while not huge, are two moves that will again bring stability to the team as they look to reload off their AFC Title game loss to Denver.
March 11th they Signed DE Frank Kearse and WR Chris Hogan. The 27-year-old Kearse is veteran of five NFL seasons with Carolina (2011-12), Dallas (2013) and Washington (2014-15).
The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder, has also spent time on the practice squads of Miami (2011) and Tennessee (2013). He originally entered the NFL as a seventh round draft pick (231st overall) by Miami out of Alabama A&M in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Kearse has played in 35 games with eight starts and has 43 total tackles, 5 ½ sacks and one pass defensed. After starting his rookie campaign on the Miami practice squad, he was signed by Carolina to the 53-man roster and rotated between the Panthers practice squad and 53-man roster during his rookie season.
Hogan spent three seasons with the Buffalo Bills, and in his time there played in 48 games with six starts and has 87 receptions for 959 yards and six touchdowns. Last season with Buffalo, Hogan played in 16 games with four starts and caught 36 passes for 450 yards and two touchdowns.
Not moves that will make headlines, but at the same time, moves that again will put the Pats in a place where they can win in 2016.