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The 2020 New England Patriots will look much different than the dominant teams throughout the 2000s. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski fled to Tampa Bay. Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, and Danny Shelton left a gaping hole in the defensive front by leaving in free agency.

Now, multiple Pats players are opting out of the upcoming NFL season, citing concerns over COVID-19. The 2020 season is looking bleak in New England, but it could lead to Bill Belichick landing the next Tom Brady.

The New England Patriots lost numerous starters to free agency

The Patriots’ losses this offseason went far deeper than just their Hall-of-Fame quarterback. Tom Brady took all the headlines when he left New England for the Buccaneers, but the Pats lost numerous starters who were key parts of the team over the last few years.

After Brady left, Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to join him in Tampa Bay. Gronkowski was still under contract with the Pats, but he only wanted to return if he could catch passes from Brady.

The defense took a massive hit in free agency as well. Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, and Danny Shelton all left New England for greener pastures this offseason, which will be a huge blow to the No. 1 defense from 2019.

The Patriots also lost Ted Karras, Elandon Roberts, Nate Ebner, and Duron Harmon this offseason.

Six Patriots players have opted out of the 2020 season

The 2020 Patriots roster was already riddled with question marks before this week, but now Bill Belichick might have a hard time simply fielding a full team.

Six New England players have recently opted out of the upcoming NFL season due to concerns over COVID-19. Dont’a Hightower, Marcus Cannon, Brandon Bolden, Dan Vitale, Patrick Chung, and Najee Toran will all sit out in 2020. For those keeping score at home — that’s two starting defenders, a starting offensive tackle, two veteran backfield pieces, and a backup guard.

Obviously, safety and health is the No. 1 priority for NFL players. If they don’t feel comfortable playing this season amid a worldwide pandemic, that’s their prerogative. However, that won’t ease the minds of anxious Patriots fans watching their roster bleed out.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots are getting closer to landing the next Tom Brady

It might be hard for Patriots fans to find any positives in the deterioration of their dynasty, but there may be an end game here that New Englanders would be ecstatic about.

Trevor Lawrence, the best quarterback prospect in years, is in line to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Scouts all over the league are enamored with Lawrence’s potential. He has the arm strength, mobility, decision-making, and winning mentality to lead a franchise to multiple Super Bowls in the coming years.

It’s unfathomable to imagine a Patriots team under Bill Belichick finishing in last place in the NFL, but the roster turnover might be signaling a new era for the Pats. With the incredible loss of starters and role players heading into the 2020 season, the Patriots aren’t in a position to compete for another Super Bowl.

So, why not embrace the new normal? Punt on the 2020 season and go get the next Tom Brady to lead the rebuild back to glory, Mr. Belichick. Without a young QB with Hall-of-Fame potential, the future in New England looks bleaker than ever.

Pats fans might feel as if their beloved franchise is falling apart in front of their eyes, but a lost 2020 season could mean a prosperous decade under the new Tom Brady: Trevor Lawrence.