American Football

#PostPulpit Mailbag: What is Tyquan Thornton’s potential in a new-look Patriots offense?


New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

This week’s Patriots mailbag takes a look at the wide receiver trade market, and more.

The NFL offseason has cooled off as the major free agents have found homes. With the NFL Draft just a month away, roster movement seems to be held up by the current standstill in the wide receiver market, which the New England Patriots are reportedly involved in.

Let’s empty out this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag to discuss those players and more of this offseason movement.

@dave_nieves4 Do you think we are getting Hopkins and if so when are they gonna announce it

@Peter57883958 Is dhop or Judy signed yet?

Jeudy and Hopkins are currently signed and under contract with their current teams. Acquiring Hopkins would come with cap hits of $19.45 million in 2023 and $14.915 million in 2024 if Arizona does not convert any money.

As for Jeudy, he would come with a $2.68 million cap hit this year and the club could pick up his fifth-year option valued at $12.987 million. While many suggest trading for Jeudy and handing him a lucrative extension, it’s not needed as New England has all the leverage with his deal. They have him for two years valued at a total of roughly $15.5 million and then have the power to franchise tag him if they did not reach a hypothetical long-term deal.

We’ll see if one of these moves even happens, as it does not seem like Denver really wants to move Jeudy unless they are blown away with an offer. Arizona seems patient to wait as they clearly aren’t getting the offer they hope for Hopkins after what Brandin Cooks and similar receivers were dealt for. It would be no surprise to see this continue to drag out.

ideal first round pick at 14 and Hopkins or Juedy? — Zeddy Rickky

Breaking down the fit with each receiver, Jeudy is the preference due to age and fit after the Patriots recent moves. With players like JuJu and Mike Gesicki in the fold to already pair with DeVante Parker and Hunter Henry, they could use a shifty separator at the position. While Hopkins’ talent would obviously be welcomed, his skillset provides some more of what they seem to already have.

As for first round pick, a tackle or corner has long been the preference. Unless Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez somehow falls to 14, taking one of the top tackles would be my ideal pick as they can then acquire a starting matchup cornerback on Day Two.

@dmrma413 Thoughts on Thorntons potential this year in BOB’S offense?

Love it, Derek. Let’s actually talk about a receiver who’s on the roster.

As it stands right now, Thornton will have a big role and be the key question mark within the offense. Their current roster consists of many bigger, possession type receivers who can work the middle of the field (Parker, Henry, Gesicki, JuJu). But, they still need a speed/vertical threat on the outside to occupy safeties deep and open up that middle of the field. Enter Tyquan, who has the ability and, obviously, the speed in order to do so.

He impressed throughout training camp last year before suffering a broken collarbone and never really got back on track. That could make it tough to rely on him for a major role in 2023, but they should give him every opportunity to prove himself this year. If they don’t view him as that guy internally, perhaps they hedge their bets by acquiring one of these top available veteran receivers or adding in the draft.

No matter what, New England should have success attacking the middle of the field (which suits Mac Jones’ best interest), which likely would result in Thornton not being a target hog. Be he could hold a Will Fuller-type role for O’Brien and be a valuable piece even when he’s not touching the ball.

@CheyenneSulli14 Are the patriots all done in free agency ?

Based off the players left in free agency, there aren’t many major splashes left to be had outside of Odell Beckham Jr. — who very well might be headed to New York with Aaron Rodgers. While they could still add some veterans at the right price, any major move will likely come through trades at this point.

@Skywal1Thaddeus What are the odds the Patriots keep Ty Montgomery on this roster. I was very disappointed he only appeared in one game last season. I really thought that he could’ve made a huge difference.

As New England has not added a veteran receiving back in free agency this offseason, it bodes well for Ty Montgomery’s odds of sticking around next season. Montgomery was one of the lone offensive players to impress throughout training camp last season and seemed primed to be a contributor. His versatility makes him a potential useful piece for Bill O’Brien entering 2023.

Besides Montgomery, the hope is Pierre Strong Jr. will follow a similar path to those before him and have a larger impact in the passing game in year two. They need to get his speed on the field more. Adding through the draft here is an option as well, but their history suggests any rookie would not be an immediate contributor.

@siegeLars Will the Patriots value the pass rush more this season in the draft and in schemes?

Not sure they could value the pass rush more as it was the heartbeat of their defense last season. They could be even better this season after bringing the entire pass rush group back and will have a healthy Christian Barmore to start the season.

EDGE has become an under-the-radar need in the draft, however, as Matthew Judon is 31 and in the back half of his contract while Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings enter the final year of their rookie deals. In a talented EDGE class, them addressing the position earlier than expected (even in the first-round) would not be a surprise.

@hound_ms How optimistic are you guys about the 2023-2024 season? Gonna ask this question after the draft

I think the Patriots have had a strong offseason so far. They’ve added valuable depth throughout the roster and raised their offensive floor with their coaching staff additions. But it all hinges on the draft and how Mac Jones plays next season. They still have some holes at some of the most premiere positions in the league (WR, CB, OT), but should definitely be in the Wild Card hunt if they find ways to add their in the draft or through trades.

@MilkyD79 Why does Roger Goodell keep getting extended and why does he make so much money when it seems like literally ANYONE could do his job and do it better, and probably for less.

If people are getting mad at him and not the owners, he is doing his job and the owners will gladly have him back.

@KTTTTTT123 When will bill wake up?

As someone who saw Bill Belichick in person at Devin McCourty’s retirement press conference on Tuesday, I can confirm he is awake.

That’s all for this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag. If you have questions you’d liked to be answered next week, submit them on Twitter using #PostPulpit! Make sure to be following @iambrianhines and @PatsPulpit as well!

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