Christian Barmore has honest message for people hoping Patriots tank originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The best outcome for the New England Patriots over the final four weeks of the 2023 NFL regular season is for them to lose all of their remaining games.
That scenario would result in the team having, at worst, the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, and the opportunity to select one of the top three prospects in the class — USC quarterback Caleb Williams, UNC quarterback Drake Maye and Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. The Patriots currently own the No. 2 pick in the upcoming draft, but if they win one more game, they could potentially drop several spots.
While losing is what’s best for the franchise overall, it’s not in the best interests of the players. Many of these players still have something to play for on an individual level. Aside from personal pride, there are contract incentives/bonuses to hit. Playing well over the last couple games also could improve a player’s value in free agency next offseason, and the Patriots have several guys with expiring contracts.
It’s for these reasons, and others, that the players have no incentive to tank.
Patriots defensive lineman Christian Barmore, who has been one of the team’s top performers this season, was asked Monday in a video press conference about people who hope the team loses to improve its draft position.
His message to them was simple and honest.
I asked Christian Barmore about people hoping the Patriots lose games to gain a better draft pick. What would he say to them? “We ain’t here to give up games. We’re here to play football.”
— Christopher Price (@cpriceglobe) December 11, 2023
The players want to win, and that was evident last Thursday when the Patriots played their best 30 minutes of football all season by scoring three first-half touchdowns in a 21-18 upset victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road. Furthermore, New England’s defense has ranked among the league’s best over the last five weeks even though wins have been hard to come by.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick deserves plenty of criticism for how poorly this season has gone, but he does deserve some credit for keeping the players motivated and playing hard. There’s been no sign of quit on this team despite its 3-10 record, and that’s unlikely to change over the next month.