The 2017 NFL offseason is basically over, which means it's time to grade what the New England Patriots did this year. Sure, a few more players might be traded, cut or signed and the Pats still have the whole LeGarrette Blount thing, but it's likely the Patriots are finished making moves. Below is the Patriots' offseason grades, which feature both free agency and the NFL Draft.
As for the grading, teams don't get a "B" just for showing up. A "B" is a good offseason, while an "A" is a great offseason. A "C" is not bad in my eyes, it's simply average at best. It's tough to get a "D," since that basically means a team botched almost everything about the offseason. Obviously there is a lot of opinion here, so hit me up on Twitter if you disagree with the Patriots' offseason grade.
Free Agency: A+
RB Mike Gillislee, RB Rex Burkhead, WR Brandin Cooks (trade), TE Dwayne Allen (trade), DL Lawrence Guy, DE Kony Ealy (trade), CB Stephon Gilmore
TE Martellus Bennett, DE Jabaal Sheard, DE Chris Long, LB Barkevious Mingo, CB Logan Ryan
OT Cameron Fleming, DL Andre Branch, LB D'Onta Hightower, CB Malcolm Butler, S Duron Harmon
For simplicity's sake, we're including the trades the Patriots pulled off here. And with those factored in, did anyone have a better pre-draft offseason than the Patriots? They upgraded at corner by replacing Logan Ryan with Stephon Gilmore. They got a bona-fide No. 1 WR in Brandin Cooks for their first rounder. Getting Dwayne Allen provided a cheaper option than Martellus Bennett at TE. Getting Kony Ealy by just trading down eight spots in the draft was a classic Patriots steal. I wouldn't be all that surprised if the Patriots got upwards of 10 sacks from Ealy. They kept a key defensive line piece in Andre Branch and signed Lawrence Guy too. Sure, corner is a need again if Malcolm Butler leaves after next offseason and the edge rusher spot isn't as strong as the Pats like it, but this was an absurdly good offseason from a defending Super Bowl champion. After Denver won, they lost several key pieces. The Patriots somehow got better in free agency.
NFL Draft: D
Derek Rivers, DE, Youngstown State (Rd. 3, Pick 83)
Antonio Garcia, OL, Troy (Rd. 3, Pick 85)
Deatrich Wise, DL, Arkansas (Rd. 4, Pick 131)
Conor McDermott, OT, UCLA (Rd. 6, Pick 211)
Before the Pats fans attack me, this grade isn't factoring in those trades we mentioned above (you're still going to like the overall grade). Based only on the picks made, the Pats were playing with a bad hand. I actually do like the picks of Rivers and Garcia and they could be pretty damn good in a few years. Garcia might move to guard early for the Pats, but could play tackle. Rivers might see the field early as a pass rusher. I'm not a huge Wise fan, but I think he'll fit well in New England. McDermott could be a future swing tackle, but he might not make the roster either. I'm surprised they didn't add a corner. The Pats, based only one these four players, get a D.
Complete Offseason Grade: A
This is a no-brainer grade. The Patriots added perhaps the best CB available this offseason and added the best CB. All while only losing a few non-essential pieces. Sure, they didn't have many draft picks, but they netted a bunch of good players this offseason. Only Bill Belichick and the Patriots could find a way to upgrade their team in a notable way after winning the Super Bowl.