The New England Patriots were already considered as the top favorite to win the Super Bowl LII. Many could jot that up to the hype and excitement around the said professional American football team winning their fifth Super Bowl in 16 years, and completing the greatest comeback in National Football League (NFL) history.
But after the time-honored grime of the offseason has resolved, it still seems like the New England among the franchise that’s is dominant against the 31 other teams in the league. To be the Super Bowl champion, you have to defeat the reigning champion. Not only are the Patriots the defending Super Bowl champions, but the organization spent the entire offseason getting much better.
The New England, under the helm of head coach Bill Belichick, scarcely make any moves towards free agent players sure to score lucrative contracts. That’s why it came as a surprise to many NFL fans when the Patriots abruptly signed cornerback Stephon Gillmore to a five-year contract deal worth $65 million, on the very first day of free agency period.
Coming off a Pro Bowl season, Gillmore gives the Patriots a pair of Pro Bowl cornerbacks, alongside Malcolm Butler. Their other big action in free agency wasn’t actually an acquisition, but rather the extension of Pro Bowl linebacker Dont’a Hightower’s contract. Hightower opted to return to in New England with a four-year, $35.5 million contract deal.
As the middle linebacker for the Patriots, Hightower was a pivotal part of the team’s defense. Being able to retain his services was a massive win for the New England. On offense, meanwhile, the Patriots gave veteran superstar quarterback Tom Brady yet another weapon, in the form of wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
The Patriots traded the No. 32 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to New Orleans Saints to land Cook , who will provide Tom Brady with a deep threat that was bitterly lacking in the most recent season. Add in the acquisitions of defensive end Kony Ealy from Carolina Panthers and tight end Dwayne Allen — who has the ability to be a dominant red zone option — and and you have a 53-man roster that’s marked by significant additions to last season’s lineup.
The Patriots already has one of the greatest — if not the greatest — combination of head coach and quarterbacks in Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.