2020 was a very different year for the New England Patriots. The first year without Tom Brady leading the franchise ended with a 7-9 record, leading to a failure to participate in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Now, it's a totally different year with a lot of money spent on free agency and a new face in the quarterback room. The Patriots will kick off their training camp on July 28th and hold two practices at Gillette Stadium, on August 6 and 10.
New England will also hold joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles during August 16-17.
New England Patriots off-season news roundup leading up to training camp
The Patriots spent $159.6M in guaranteed money on the first 10 days of the new league year, by far the largest amount in the league. New England signed two wide receivers, two tight ends, Matt Judon and a few others. The offense got a complete overhaul after there were no good receivers for Newton to throw to in 2020, and the pass rush was also reinforced.
The main question was the quarterback position, but it seems the Patriots are headed for an open competition in camp between Cam Newton, the veteran, and Mac Jones, the first-round rookie. Newton once again signed a one-year deal, while Jones fell into New England's arms for the 15th pick.
With the cash influx aided by important players coming back from opt-outs and a good draft class, the Patriots feel confident they can make an impact next season.
Training Camp predictions, who to watch
Mac Jones vs. Cam Newton is the biggest storyline, as they'll have an open competition for the starting position. Jones impressed during offseason training and showed that he is ready for a big role in the team.
It doesn't stop there, as a lot of starting jobs on the offense are up for grabs as well. Damien Harris is the favorite, but Sony Michel's still on the roster and is in with a shout for a starting berth.
There is also the question of who will play at wide receiver alongside Nelson Agholor. Will Hunter Henry start at tight end or Jonnu Smith top the depth chart?
More questions arise on the defense as the interior defensive line will see rookie Christian Barmore take the starting spot after coming off a great career in Alabama. Ronnie Pecan could also see a big portion of the snaps in his first-year, as Chase Winovich is the main EDGE.