The Super Bowl luster hasn't worn off entirely yet, but New England can't afford to dwell too much longer on its triumphant 2016 campaign. In less than a month, the 2017 NFL year officially begins (4 p.m. Eastern, March 9). That means NFL Draft and free agency preparations must begin as soon as possible.
With that in mind, ESPN provides a convenient list of New England's upcoming free agents in order of perceived importance.
Meanwhile, signs seem to point to a trade of backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo, at least according to one scribe who covers the Patriots on a regular basis.
"It seems like only a matter of time before Garoppolo is shipped elsewhere and as it turns out, the Patriots have plenty of options. It's been reported from several outlets that the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears are planning to make strong runs at the Patriots' backup quarterback," he posits. "Another option, according to the NFL Network, is San Francisco. The 49ers reportedly will target Kirk Cousins, but if they can't land the Washington quarterback, they'll set their sights on Garoppolo."
However, a columnist from the* Eagle-Tribune* vehemently disagrees, saying it's a lock that Jimmy G stays in Foxborough for the time being.
"Would Seattle trade Russell Wilson or Indy trade Andrew Luck? Could you ever see Marcus Mariota (Tennessee), Dak Prescott (Dallas), Derek Carr (Oakland) or Jameis Winston (Tampa) being dealt for any package? Of course not," he argues in part. "Right now, Garoppolo sits in the same category. Why? Because quarterbacking in the NFL is everything."
Meanwhile, now that the Patriots successfully completed their "Drive for Five" Super Bowl wins, what's the slogan for the next title pursuit? According to media reports, the team has already started working on one.
For now, that might be premature, as many of you still feel like reliving Super Bowl LI. And you're probably not alone. The Boston Globe offers a feel-good feature about how the Patriots put family first in their latest championship run.
And a WEEI.com editorial declares that last Sunday's win by New England was the worst result from the perspective of the NFL and its embattled commissioner.
"While the NFL commissioner rarely doesn't want certain teams to do well over course of a season, he had to have been rooting against the Patriots for much of the year," the writer states.
Finally today, a Boston.com column declares that the Patriots have become the New York Yankees. The author goes on to explain in an interesting comparison of the two successful organizations.