Column: The Patriots Season is Over. Now What?

By Brian Lombardo
BU News Service

It happens like clockwork every year.

The Patriots season has come to an end, and Boston sports fans are scrambling to try and catch up with the other teams in the city. Despite following the major storylines, checking box scores and scrolling Twitter to stay competent in conversation, the commitment level to the other teams isn’t where it should be because of how much attention the NFL season demands.

But now the page has been turned on the Patriots’ season. The icing on the cake came in the form of Josh McDaniels earning his first Bill Belichick moment, when he pulled out of the head coaching gig for the Indianapolis Colts the night before he was supposed to attend his introductory press conference.

It was a moment reminiscent of one 18 years ago, when Belichick spurned the New York Jets for the Patriots without ever coaching a game.

“I resign as the HC of the NYJ,” Belichick wrote infamously.

But while the Patriots found a way to stay in the spotlight even after losing in the Super Bowl, much has happened across the Boston sports landscape.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has reported that free agent slugger J.D. Martinez has become ‘fed up’ with the Red Sox. Knowing that Martinez is a Scott Boras client, it’s possible that a little hard ball is being played through the media to manipulate negotiations. I assume that was the case in this scenario, but it brings up a good debate: who is the backup plan for the Sox if Martinez goes elsewhere?

The Red Sox have a full roster right now. Adding outfielder Martinez would leave one of Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. expendable. Most see Bradley Jr. as the odd man out in the equation.

He could be traded to bring in help to any of the team’s needs, like bullpen help, another power bat, or a second baseman to play in Dustin Pedroia’s injury absence. No real backup plan has been discussed in the media, but if Martinez is to sign elsewhere it would be the first topic of conversation across all the city’s sports talk shows.

The week ended with a focus on the Boston Celtics, as last Wednesday and Thursday brought the NBA trade deadline. Although the Celtics did not partake in trades, they did sign veteran 27-year-old center Greg Monroe, who was bought out of his contract by the Phoenix Suns earlier this season.

The Celtics also saw their Eastern Conference rival Cleveland Cavaliers completely turn over their roster mid-season, trading former Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas in the process.

On Sunday, the team honored Paul Pierce by retiring his number 34 to the rafters of TD Garden. In a lengthy ceremony, the Garden faithful shared an emotional moment with “The Truth” as he reminisced about his early days with the team, from struggling to find their winning ways all the way to the acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen that formed the championship team of 2008.

Most cities don’t have this much excitement in an entire season, but in Boston a week like this is nothing out of the ordinary. This all goes without mentioning the excitement surrounding the BU’s men’s and women’s hockey programs, which each advanced to the title game of the Beanpot tournament.

The men’s team fell 5-2 to Northeastern on Monday. The women’s team plays tonight at 7:30 against Boston College.

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