BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots have not been pinching pennies this offseason, with Bill Belichick going on a free agent spending spree like never before. New England has dished out over $170 million on 19 free agents so far this offseason, and that’s just the contracts that we know about.

After stumbling through a 7-9 season with an offense that struggled to do anything on the field, the Patriots signed the top two tight ends on the market in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. They also added receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne for Cam Newton’s arsenal. David Andrews is back to snap the ball at center, with Ted Karras and Trent Brown (via trade) also added along the offensive line. On defense, Matthew Judon has been brought in to improve New England’s pass rush, and Kyle Van Noy is back to do the same. And that’s just a few of the players that have been brought to make immediate impacts in 2021.

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft said that his team has never had this much cap space to work with, and he’s happy that Belichick has been able to plug so many holes so quickly. Kraft is showing no signs of buyer’s remorse following Belichick’s spending spree.

“We had the second or third-most cap room at the start of free agency,” Kraft told Peter King for this week’s Football Morning In America. “This year, instead of having 10 or 12 teams competing for most of the top players, there were only two or three. And in my 27 years as owner, I’ve never had to come up with so much capital before.”

With just under $70 million to spend, the Patriots had the third-most cap space in the NFL this offseason. And after that disappointing 2020 season, the team was going to take full advantage of that spending power.

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“It’s like investing in the stock market,” said Kraft. “You take advantage of corrections and inefficiencies in the market when you can, and that’s what we did here. We’ll see. Nothing is guaranteed, and I’m very cognizant of that. But we’re not in the business to be in business. We’re in this business to win.”

Kraft said that there is a bit of irony to this offseason approach, as the Patriots used to sit back and snicker at teams that went out and spent big money on free agents.

“I do remember we always made fun of the teams that spent a lot in the offseason,” said Kraft. “So we know nothing is guaranteed, and I’m very cognizant of that.”

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But with a season without playoff football in Foxboro, and Tom Brady the king of the NFL down in Tampa Bay, the Patriots had to do everything they could to inject a lot more talent on the roster.

CBSBoston.com Staff