Patriots free agency primer-Offense

Moving onto the Offense today…while still sweating out that the Patriots will stick to their historical ways under the Kraft family and let Darrelle Revis walk…and have him sign with another AFC team…not good…

Quarterback:

Under contract:  Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Garrett Gilbert

Free agents:  None

Thoughts:  Nothing to see here.  Brady apparently will play for much less than he is worth (though make no mistake, every time he renegotiates, he makes more money than people think he does).  He can still play at a high level.  Just need to make sure the offensive line is stout enough to keep him upright and it will be business as usual.  Jimmy Football is of course unproven, but the organization seems to love him.  Hopefully we won’t have to see him play again next year anyway, other than mop up time.

Garrett Gilbert?  Who cares?  The 3rd QB will be on the practice squad.  And if we see the 3rd QB at any time next year, the season is surely over.  So it could be anyone.  But Gilbert should be thanking his lucky stars the Pats signed him last December 17.  Apparently, the Pats wanted to sign some dude named David Fales off the Chicago Bears practice squad.  Chicago ended up elevating him to the 53-man roster.  So the Pats went for Gilbert instead.  Then Garrett got to enjoy the ride for 6 weeks and also got himself a Super Bowl ring.  I know no one cares about this stuff but me, but good for Gilbert anyway…and I suppose too bad for Fales.

Running back:

Under contract:  LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, James White, Tyler Gaffney, Jonas Gray, Dion Lewis

Free agents:  Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, James Develin (FB)

Thoughts:  Kind of a run-of-the-mill group in the backfield.  But you know what?  It’s actually probably good enough.  That’s assuming White and Gaffney can play a little.  Blount is an average back…he can take advantage of the poor run defense teams, but is not a game breaker, despite what many Patriots fans think.  Gray showed some flashes, obviously.  He seemed to run pretty well when given the chance.  Looked like he had more burst than Blount.  But there was a reason he was on the practice squad for the first half of the season, where every team in the league had a chance to add him and they did not.  I think it’s more than the alarm clock thing and getting buried in the doghouse.  There must be some more limitations…again, despite what many Patriots fans think.  Bolden is a nice guy to have on the team, but I don’t want him getting carries…many of them anyway.  Lewis…if you want.

The keys here as it stands are White and Gaffney.  White was a preseason darling, but couldn’t get on the field last year.  When he did, no one saw much.  Perhaps he needs more reps.  But I’m not completely sold on him yet.  Gaffney was stolen from Carolina after he got hurt early in training camp and they wanted put him on injured reserve before they actually needed to.  Did it during a period where he had to clear waivers before they could put him on IR.  If they kept him until the first cutdown from 90 to 75 players, they could have put him straight to IR without exposing him to waivers.  Needed that 90th roster spot I suppose.  Anyway, dumb move by them if they liked him.  But if Carolina was willing to take that risk, how good can Gaffney really be?  The Patriots did something like this a couple of years back when the New York Giants tried to do the same exact thing with Jake Ballard when he was hurt one year.  The Pats claimed him and stashed him on an injury list all year.  Got everyone all fired up about him making contributions the following year…and then he never made the team.  So we will see.

As for the free agents, I’d actually take Ridley back.  I’m assuming he will have to get one of those one year, “make good” deals, to prove he is healthy and still a decent back.  Why not here?  But if I’m Ridley, I don’t know if I would do that in New England.  Too many bodies and he won’t get the carries he needs to cash in next year.  I’d let Vereen walk, especially if he is looking for like 5 mil a year, as I have heard.  He stayed healthy last year, but what are the chances of that happening again, with his history?  Plus, he got some yardage last year, but to me, he seemed to be less explosive than he has been in the past.  I like him, but he can be replaced.  Develin is restricted, so he will likely be back, if the Pats want a fullback.  No problem with that.  I wouldn’t argue adding another veteran here, but I’m not rolling out tremendous cash to do so.

Wide Receivers:

Under contract:  Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, Jonathan Krause, Matthew Slater

Free agents:  Brian Tyms, Greg Orton

Thoughts:  Again, probably enough here as well.  No need to spend major dough on anyone…such as trading for Andre Johnson’s good sized deal.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a big name like ‘Dre here.  But I’d rather spend the dough on other positions than extending for someone at this position.  I wonder if Dobson will ever be anything, but I’m not opposed to giving him another chance.  He showed some promise in his rookie year.  He supposedly is “rededicating” himself this offseason.  We will see, but why not?  Boyce, Krause, Slater?  Yeah, filler.  There has been talk about maybe replacing Amendola with someone like Brian Hartline, but what’s the difference?  Tyms and Orton are both restricted, but again, who cares?  I’m not as high on Tyms as everyone else seems to be.  Loved him in the preseason though, for whatever that’s worth…pretty much nothing, I know.  If Edelman can stay healthy and LaFell keeps progressing here, it’s enough.

Tight ends:

Under contract:  Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, Tim Wright

Free agents:  None

Thoughts:  Keep Gronk healthy!  That’s it!  I see Wright contributing more next year, as a receiver, now that he will have an offseason and a full training camp with the team.  I think they will find a way to work him in more.  I’d love to see them acquire a backup, through the draft or otherwise, that can both catch and block.  I’m not saying another Gronk, but someone who is capable of doing both to take some of the load off Gronk during the regular season.  To a much smaller degree, obviously.  But if their plan is just to have these guys and then having an extra offensive lineman be a blocker, then I am ok with that too.  Unless that OL is Marcus Cannon.  Because he was awful in that role last year.  Nate Solder and Cameron Fleming were good at it though, so there are other options.

Offensive line:

Under contract:  Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Ryan Wendell, Marcus Cannon, Bryan Stork, Cameron Fleming, Josh Kline, Jordan Devey, Chris Barker, Caylin Hauptmann

Free agents:  Dan Connolly, Danny Aiken (LS)

Thoughts:  I think the Patriots are set at tackle and center with Vollmer, Solder and Stork.  Would love to see Solder get his cap number down with a long term deal though.  He struggled at times last year, but I’m ok with keeping him on the blind side.  Can you do better?  Not sure.  Stork seemed to make a difference when he was in the lineup.  Vollmer has been good.  Not a huge Cannon fan…who is actually?  But as a backup swing tackle, again, you could do worse.  I believe Fleming is technically a tackle as well, though they tried him at guard too…and of course as the blocking TE.  Will be in his 2nd year, I’m good here.  Guard seems to be one of the highest priority positions to upgrade to me.  I like having Wendell on the squad.  He played ok at guard and you can play him at center as well.  I’d love to bring Connolly back for depth at the right price too.  He also has the flexibility to play C.  I’d like to see them get another big guard to at the very least groom next year.  Kline appears to be deep depth.  Barker has been around for 2 years and has barely played.  Devey is atrocious and Hauptmann is someone I’ve never heard of.  Maybe he’s the guy, but doubtful.  Seems ripe for another high level player here.  Aiken is here as the long snapper and it doesn’t matter to me if they re-sign him or let him go.  Someone will do it next year.

Kicker:

Under contract:  Stephen Gostkowski (franchise tag)

Free agents:  None

Thoughts:  I’m not terribly excited the Pats used their franchise tag on their kicker.  But there really was only one other option to use it on among all of their impending free agents:  Devin McCourty.  As stated above, I’m not sad they didn’t use it on Devin.  So you may as well make sure you have a reliable kicker going forward…on a team poised to score plenty of points.  Sure, I’m not positive he has made too many clutch kicks over his career, certainly as compared to his predecessor, Adam Vinatieri.  But again, having a reliable kicker is a good thing.  Some teams in the past have gotten derailed because their kicker was terrible (Billy Cundiff anyone?).  His kickoffs are strong as well.  I’m fine with it.  May as well lock him up for a few years though, so they are not tempted to use the franchise tag on him again next year.

 

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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 6, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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