Patriots free agency chatta

Welp…we are almost here.  Another offseason to watch the Pats reach into the bargain basement bin for free agents to find value.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not want them to go out and sign a bunch of Adalius Thomas’, who get the money and then coast.  I don’t want them to be like the Redskins and throw money around willy-nilly.  I love to find value guys as well.  But as everyone is saying, the “window” is closing.  They haven’t won a championship in 9 years, despite being deep in the playoffs most years and having one of the best coaches and QB’s in NFL history…and plenty of other talent.  They also do spend money and go close to the cap, despite a lot of people saying otherwise.  So I don’t have tremendous issues with how the Patriots do business.  It’s been a pretty good run.  I just want them to spend SOME money on an impact player or two and make an even more serious run at a championship or two before Brady is done.  In recent years, they seem to be that impact player or two short.  I’m really not asking for much.

Using cap figures from Overthecap.com, I have some ideas on what the Pats should do.  Some of these have been discussed far and wide already.  Some of this is pretty much common sense.  But hopefully I have some value to add…pun intended…

*Release Gregory–oops, already done long ago.  3.7M cap number for a #3 safety at best.  Thanks for your time Steve.

*Try to restructure Wilfork.  He may not be up for this.  I think we all recall the negotiations to get this contract initially.  Not smooth, to be kind.   But an 11.6M cap hit for a 32 year old coming off a serious injury is way too steep.  I’m sure he hasn’t kept himself in great shape with the Achilles recovery either.  If he is not game for a restructuring…I’d release him.  Very tough call on the surface.  But based on the outward facts, it really is not.  The Patriots have always looked at the facts, not the connection the player has to the team.  They usually have been very cold, generally letting a player go a year too early than a year too late.  But there is precedent for keeping a year too late as well.  Troy Brown and Tedy Bruschi were done in their final years with the Pats.  Bruschi played a lot, but not well.  Brown was hurt most of the year and inactive for the rest of it.  But they were both taking up roster spots that they probably shouldn’t have.  The Pats let Vince travel with the team last year, not something they usually do.  So there is a different kind of relationship there obviously.  Other facts to consider is that they made the AFC Championship game last year with the 30th ranked run D and guys like Chris Jones and Joe Vellano at DT.  Do they need Vince in today’s NFL?  I personally think the money is better spent elsewhere.  But in the end, I think the Pats keep him even if he doesn’t restructure.

*Mankins at 10.5M?  Probably too much.  Did not play as well as usual last year.  But played on a torn ACL the whole year in 2012.  And talk about contentious negotiations to get his contract.  In 2014, I’d leave him where he is.

*Re-sign and restructure free agents in the the last year in their contract in 2014.  McCourty (5.1M), Gostkowski (3.8M) and if the Patriots are letting Wendell walk and still think he has something left to play at center, Connolly (4.1M).  The cap will go up yet again in 2015, so Devin and Stephen can take a little less this year (cap-wise) and get rewarded with extensions with higher riches in 2015 and beyond.  McCourty is not as good as his reputation suggests (according to me).  But he is pretty good, knows the D inside and out and has versatility.  Gostkowski is money.  I don’t necessarily want to spend way more on a kicker than I have to.  But he will fit.  Not sure how the Pats view Connolly.  4.1M for him is kind of high.  But he does have versatility and if he is back at center, that has some value as well.  If they re-sign Wendell, then the best move may be to just axe Connolly and go younger at guard.

*Release Sopoaga (3.5M), Adrian Wilson (1.8M) and Jake Bequette (700K).  OK pretty obvious.  And Bequette doesn’t even matter.  I’m just tired of hearing his name.  He may be the worse 3rd round pick ever.  I’ll let others do the research on that though.

*Let Edelman walk.  If someone is going to give him an Amendola deal, see ya bud.  I love what Julian brings to a team.  He has developed as a WR.  Great punt returner.  In a pinch, though I wouldn’t recommend it, he could play DB or QB.  Special teams guy.  Great versatility overall.  Creates a lot of options.  But his injury history is extensive.  Last year was the first time he was healthy the whole year.  He came up big yes.  But Amendola was hurt (surprise) and the kids were new (and Dobson and KT got hurt at different times as well).  Gronk was hurt (another surprise).  He was basically the only guy to throw to.  Especially considering your lead RB’s can’t catch (Ridley & Blount) and your 3rd down back (Vereen) was hurt as well.  If all those guys were even a bit healthier, he ain’t catching 100+ balls.  The Pats have enough weapons without him.  He can easily be replaced.  Not worth the dough.

*Keep Amendola for one more year at least.  Danny has an extensive injury history as well.  But when he is on the field he is better than Edelman.  Trading him will yield next to nothing.  If there is a chemistry issue between him and Brady, than tell Brady to get over it.  If Brady threw to a covered Slater against Denver instead of a wide open Amendola on purpose, then shame on Brady.  Supposedly the Pats can cut Amendola with no cap ramifications after 2014.  Give him one more year and if it still isn’t working, dump him then.

*Let Blount walk.  Nice finish to the year…except Denver.  I’ll take him back if he comes cheap.  But if he wants dough, there is another LeGarrette Blount out there for next year.

*Let Spikes walk.  Obvious and enough said.

*Re-sign Talib, or spend dough on another top CB.  OK, another obvious one.  The hesitation on Talib is his hip and overall health.  Legit concerns.  But he clearly works in their system.  My recommendation?  Re-sign him AND another top corner.  All the moves above should create plenty of cap space for both.  My belief is that the offense will be fine with a few small tweaks.  Spend available dough on the D-backfield…AND…

*Sign a top pass rushing DE.  Chandler Jones is nice on one side.  Ninkovich is useful on the other.  But as an every down pass rusher?  Still don’t like it, never have.  Think he could be more useful as a 3rd DE, coverage LB, kind of jack of all trades on defense.  Cut his snaps and keep him fresh.  Sign one of the names you hear as a stud pass rusher, especially if a few more names get released from their teams in the coming days.  Adding this and the 2 stud DB’s above should be doable.  Then you can get any other adds in your bargain basement bin.

*Bonus…I’d draft a TE and athletic LB high and some young OL later.  Half a season of Gronk plus Hoo-man/Mulligan/DJ Williams/draft pick should suffice at TE.  At LB, with Spikes leaving, after Mayo, Hightower and Collins, there are a bunch of special teamers.  Be nice to have another prospect in the pipeline.  Even if you keep one of Connolly/Wendell and even though Dante is now gone, the starters on the OL should be fine.  But it would be nice to build depth.  DT as well.  I’m not drafting the “future QB of the Pats” yet now either.  Not time to do so at this point.

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About mpdenton

I am a passionate and life long fan of the local teams...and by local I mean New England. I remember the days of Ray Bourque, Larry Bird, Steve Grogan and Wade Boggs...meaning I have lived the highs and lows of the Boston sports scene. With all this pent up Boston sports emotion, I clearly have a lot to say about the local teams and sometimes about sports in general. Maybe even the Revolution... I appreciate you reading my blog and hope you enjoy my rants.

Posted on March 10, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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