2020 Pats: Roster & Beyond (non-QB edition)

vadertime

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Bedard on 98.5 saying it's time to release Izzo, Olszewsky...and Harry.
Izzo is fine. But fine as a #2 or #3 tightend. Its not his fault he's the main guy. He shouldn't be.
Harry is also fine as a #3 or #4 WR. He is never going to be a #1 or live up to the first round pick. But again, he can be productive in a role.
Olszewsky is the only one you can make a case for. I had heard a lot of positive buzz coming out of training camp, but it seems to be that old saying of 'you can polish a turd all you want but its still a turd'.
 
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It seems to me that the idea that Izzo is considered fine as a #2 TE on this team is a real indication of how warped our view of tight end play is in the post-Gronkowski era. There’s never going to be another Gronk - fine, of course - but Izzo is, IMO, a so-so #3 TE at best.

The weapons on this roster are stunningly low rent. That is due to many factors, including injuries, yes, but also poor drafting, and also a need for patience. This is a re-set year, next year will be a rebuilding year. Our 2021 tight end group really needs to include: a legit #1 TE (FA/Asiasi), a legit #2 (Asiasi/Keene/FA) and a decent #3 (Keene/Izzo/draft pick/FA). Here’s hoping we upgrade in a big way over Izzo.
 

Captaincoop

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Neither Izzo nor Harry are fine. Izzo killed them blocking today (not the first time that's happened). He's a liability in the running game.

Harry is only being put on the field at this point because they spent a 1st round pick on him. Meyers, Byrd, and the guy who showed up out of nowhere this week are all better options in the passing game. And none of them are even good #2 options, they're all suited at best as #3 wideouts. He's got to be close to getting cut.
 

Seels

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I generally don't like Bedard but I've never watched Izzo and thought he was something better than one of the worst players I've ever seen.
Compared to the rosters 5-10 years ago, the lower end of this roster is really, really bad. I agree with Gunner, Gunner sucks. He's shifty like Edelman but doesn't do anything else as good as Edelman did. I'm not so agrieved by him I want him off the roster, but I can't see a guy like Gunner on a really competitive team.
 

FL4WL3SS

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I generally don't like Bedard but I've never watched Izzo and thought he was something better than one of the worst players I've ever seen.
Compared to the rosters 5-10 years ago, the lower end of this roster is really, really bad. I agree with Gunner, Gunner sucks. He's shifty like Edelman but doesn't do anything else as good as Edelman did. I'm not so agrieved by him I want him off the roster, but I can't see a guy like Gunner on a really competitive team.
To be fair it took Edelman a few years to be productive.
 

Super Nomario

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To be fair it took Edelman a few years to be productive.
It took him a while to earn regular playing team, on great offenses. Edelman had 8 catches for 98 yards in Week 2 of his rookie year. Gunner has 4 catches for 44 in 14 games in his career. Edelman had 37 catches for 359 yards as a rookie, then was buried on elite offenses in 2010 and 2011. Gunner is unable to get playing time on a bottom-10 offense.
 

EL Jeffe

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Cutting Gunner is fine; with Burkhead done, JJ Taylor can be elevated to game day and return kicks and Byrd can return punts. I'd rather see Ford get some snaps at WR anyhow and it's hard to imagine Gunner making much more progress. I definitely got sucked in on him from the beat writers training camp reports, but alas.

Cutting Izzo would be stupid until/if Asiasi and/or Keene are back and get some practices in. Izzo isn't good, he's never going to be good, but he's healthy and a warm body out there (which is more than we can say for the two rookies).

Cutting Harry would be comically shortsighted. If Newton could set his feet and deliver a swing pass that every other NFL QB in the league can make, Harry would have had a perfectly respectable stat line. I have plenty of Harry doubts and concerns (always have), but cutting him in year 2 and eating the cap charge when A) he's still improving, and B) he's playing with a QB who isn't doing him any favors, is just dumb. He's also their most physical, biggest, and best blocking WR. Bedard is trolling.
 

rodderick

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Cutting Gunner is fine; with Burkhead done, JJ Taylor can be elevated to game day and return kicks and Byrd can return punts. I'd rather see Ford get some snaps at WR anyhow and it's hard to imagine Gunner making much more progress. I definitely got sucked in on him from the beat writers training camp reports, but alas.

Cutting Izzo would be stupid until/if Asiasi and/or Keene are back and get some practices in. Izzo isn't good, he's never going to be good, but he's healthy and a warm body out there (which is more than we can say for the two rookies).

Cutting Harry would be comically shortsighted. If Newton could set his feet and deliver a swing pass that every other NFL QB in the league can make, Harry would have had a perfectly respectable stat line. I have plenty of Harry doubts and concerns (always have), but cutting him in year 2 and eating the cap charge when A) he's still improving, and B) he's playing with a QB who isn't doing him any favors, is just dumb. He's also their most physical, biggest, and best blocking WR. Bedard is trolling.
Is he improving? The sample size now is a full season worth of games played and he has averaged 8.8 yards per catch (same average in 2019 and 2020, by the way). Seems to me like he's cruising towards "he is what he is" territory.
 

cshea

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What would cutting Harry accomplish? They are 4-6 and likely playing out the string. Isn't now the time to give him some extra rope and see if he can be a 2021 contributor? They spent resources on Ford so it'd be nice to see what he can do, but do what does Donte Moncreif taking Harry's snaps really accomplish in the long run?
 

lexrageorge

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Thankfully, Bedard is not the GM. Harry is not getting cut, nor should he. The season is lost, so throw him out there and see what he's got when he's healthy. He is at the very least going to be given one more training camp to catch on.
 

EL Jeffe

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Is he improving? The sample size now is a full season worth of games played and he has averaged 8.8 yards per catch (same average in 2019 and 2020, by the way). Seems to me like he's cruising towards "he is what he is" territory.
I think his releases and footwork both look better vs. last season. The YPC are what they are, but he can only run the routes he's assigned. Seattle was really the only game this year where he ran consistent 2nd level routes, and he produced (against a banged up secondary, to be fair). I would LOVE to see NE work him on more 2nd &. 3rd level routes to see what that looks like, but that's not part of the game plan. Is that out of personnel necessity or because Harry is a lost cause? It's too early to determine that and the financial ramifications of cutting him would just be dumb. If you want to see someone else out there instead, put him on IR or make him a game day inactive. You don't cut him.
 

Captaincoop

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Cutting Gunner is fine; with Burkhead done, JJ Taylor can be elevated to game day and return kicks and Byrd can return punts. I'd rather see Ford get some snaps at WR anyhow and it's hard to imagine Gunner making much more progress. I definitely got sucked in on him from the beat writers training camp reports, but alas.

Cutting Izzo would be stupid until/if Asiasi and/or Keene are back and get some practices in. Izzo isn't good, he's never going to be good, but he's healthy and a warm body out there (which is more than we can say for the two rookies).

Cutting Harry would be comically shortsighted. If Newton could set his feet and deliver a swing pass that every other NFL QB in the league can make, Harry would have had a perfectly respectable stat line. I have plenty of Harry doubts and concerns (always have), but cutting him in year 2 and eating the cap charge when A) he's still improving, and B) he's playing with a QB who isn't doing him any favors, is just dumb. He's also their most physical, biggest, and best blocking WR. Bedard is trolling.
Agree that they're stuck with Izzo until someone else on the roster can step up and play.

I haven't seen anything from Harry to indicate that he's going to stick in the NFL or is worth waiting on any longer. Still waiting for someone to make that case compelling.
 

lexrageorge

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Agree that they're stuck with Izzo until someone else on the roster can step up and play.

I haven't seen anything from Harry to indicate that he's going to stick in the NFL or is worth waiting on any longer. Still waiting for someone to make that case compelling.
I cannot make a compelling case that Harry will become a regular NFL starter. However, nobody can make a compelling case for cutting him at this point either. The Pats are not making the playoffs, the money is a sunk cost, as is the draft pick, so may as well see if he can still salvage something of a role for the future.
 

BigSoxFan

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The injury woes of both Keene/Asiasi are up there on the list of most disappointing developments of 2020 season. We have absolutely no idea beyond practice what these guys are capable of.
 

DJnVa

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Is he improving? The sample size now is a full season worth of games played and he has averaged 8.8 yards per catch (same average in 2019 and 2020, by the way). Seems to me like he's cruising towards "he is what he is" territory.
Sure, but there's some numbers out there that show he gets a bit more separation than generally thought, and is YAC is over the "expected". Perhaps we should try him in different routes.

If he's running a 6 yard route, it's going to be hard to break long ones.
 

Super Nomario

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Sure, but there's some numbers out there that show he gets a bit more separation than generally thought, and is YAC is over the "expected". Perhaps we should try him in different routes.

If he's running a 6 yard route, it's going to be hard to break long ones.
That cuts both ways, because it's easy to get separation on a flat pass behind the LOS, because who is going to cover you tight there?

I wouldn't cut Harry, but I'm also not sure how he gets on the field once Edelman returns.
 

Captaincoop

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I cannot make a compelling case that Harry will become a regular NFL starter. However, nobody can make a compelling case for cutting him at this point either. The Pats are not making the playoffs, the money is a sunk cost, as is the draft pick, so may as well see if he can still salvage something of a role for the future.
Cut him right now or not, he'll be cut soon enough either way. But certainly don't keep putting him on the field on Sunday when the other WR options that they have, underwhelming as they are, are all better than him.
 

BaseballJones

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Edelman was productive as a rookie learning a new position. He was their best player in the Baltimore debacle, for instance. He struggled to get snaps because he had the best slot receiver of all-time ahead of him.
Yeah one thing we know by now is that Julian Edelman is (was?) one hell of a football player. We have no clue whether GO can even be decent.

As for Harry... someone upthread mentioned it - absolutely you keep playing him and trying new ways to use him and see what he can do. Maybe at the end he’s worthless. I can’t believe that because there seems to be too much there to work with for a guy like that to be worthless. But you gotta let him play to find out.
 

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The injury woes of both Keene/Asiasi are up there on the list of most disappointing developments of 2020 season. We have absolutely no idea beyond practice what these guys are capable of.
Also it was a weak TE class too. I'm not sure they should have drafted for need on unproven players especially when they probably had greater needs at DL, LB or even WR when this was one of the deepest WR drafts in years.
 

EL Jeffe

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Asiasi was drafted about where he was expected to go. The biggest red flag with him was football character (undisclosed suspension, fluctuating weight, etc.) and it certainly seems like NE put him on IR for missing practice because a family friend passed away (after getting benched, to boot). I know BB specifically said it was medical and not because of the missed practice, but Asiasi went from healthy scratch to IR without stepping on a football field, so... I took it as a pretty clear sign from BB that Asiasi needs to start being a professional, but that's complete conjecture on my part.

As far as Harry moving to TE, I mean he kind of is a hybrid WR/TE at this point. He's running some TE-type routes and run blocking on the edge, he's just not aligned from the Y (nor would I expect him to be).
 

RedOctober3829

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Sobering take from Curran

Honestly, they aren't that far away no matter what Curran says as long as they can get the QB position resolved. My gut tells me they'll have even more than the $61 million in cap space after looking at what they can save by cutting a couple of veterans(Marcus Cannon being one). This isn't a 3-4 year rebuild.
 

EL Jeffe

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The Patriots are clearly coming towards a crossroads this offseason, but as Curran notes, they have a TON of cap space available. They'll also have pretty good draft capital (although losing an early-mid 3rd rounder for Dumb & Dumber 2 doesn't help). This isn't like Atlanta, where a 35 year old Matt Ryan is carrying a ~$40mil/year cap hits over the next THREE seasons just to be a bottom-feeder. NE doesn't really have any bad contracts, they just don't have enough good players. First and foremost, they need a QB (which is obviously the hardest piece to acquire). But they still have the makings of a good OL, Harris is legit at RB, and. we'll see on the two rookie TEs. Defensively, they need a lot of help in the front 7 (I do think Wino and Uche have bright futures though), and could use some youth at CB. As far as rebuilding jobs go, this one is set up pretty well to be successful. They just have to make enough right calls in the draft and free agency. That's always a crap shoot, but hey, they've done it before.
 

BaseballJones

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Adding a rejuvenated Hightower (assuming that happens) alone would do wonders for the defense. The young guys getting a lot of experience really should help moving forward as well. Add a couple of free agent pieces and the D should once again be pretty good - not elite but pretty good. On offense, the OL is outstanding. The RBs are good presuming that Harris is what he appears to be. The WRs...well...Byrd and Meyers have shown to be capable receivers. Beyond that, it's a very weak group. And TE? Who the heck knows. So that leaves...the QB position. If they had a good QB right now, this team would likely be 7-3. Honestly. They could/should have beaten Seattle, Buffalo, and Denver, and could easily have won this game yesterday. But I don't think you can count on all four of them, so make it three. That would put them at 7-3 and leading the AFCE.

So that's really the key - finding a QB. Of course, that's MUCH easier said than done. Some of the QBs set to hit free agency after this year include:

Dak
Fitzpatrick
Cam
Winston
Flacco
Mullens
Tyrod Taylor
Dalton
Rivers
Brissett

So...not a very inspiring list. Though I think an interesting play could be Mullens or - if SF wants him back - trading for JG. JG's cap hits aren't astronomical - though obviously much much more than what they're currently paying for the position.
 

tims4wins

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They won't need to trade for JG, I bet he gets cut.

Although I suppose I could see them flipping SF a 6th or whatever to make sure they get him.
 

BaseballJones

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Yeah that's what I was thinking, though if he does get cut, great!

Was looking at Harris' numbers the last four weeks. I'm so excited about this guy.

at Buf: 16 att, 102 yds (6.4 y/a), 1 TD
at NYJ: 14 att, 71 yds (5.1 y/a)
vs Bal: 22 att, 121 yds (5.5 y/a)
at Hou: 11 att, 43 yds (3.9 y/a), 1 TD
TOT: 63 att, 337 yds (5.3 y/a), 2 TD

He runs by people, he runs over people. This guy needs to see the ball a hell of a lot more than he has. He looks like the real deal moving forward.
 

Super Nomario

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Adding a rejuvenated Hightower (assuming that happens) alone would do wonders for the defense. The young guys getting a lot of experience really should help moving forward as well. Add a couple of free agent pieces and the D should once again be pretty good - not elite but pretty good. On offense, the OL is outstanding. The RBs are good presuming that Harris is what he appears to be. The WRs...well...Byrd and Meyers have shown to be capable receivers. Beyond that, it's a very weak group. And TE? Who the heck knows. So that leaves...the QB position. If they had a good QB right now, this team would likely be 7-3. Honestly. They could/should have beaten Seattle, Buffalo, and Denver, and could easily have won this game yesterday. But I don't think you can count on all four of them, so make it three. That would put them at 7-3 and leading the AFCE.

So that's really the key - finding a QB. Of course, that's MUCH easier said than done. Some of the QBs set to hit free agency after this year include:

Dak
Fitzpatrick
Cam
Winston
Flacco
Mullens
Tyrod Taylor
Dalton
Rivers
Brissett

So...not a very inspiring list. Though I think an interesting play could be Mullens or - if SF wants him back - trading for JG. JG's cap hits aren't astronomical - though obviously much much more than what they're currently paying for the position.
I think you're putting too much on Cam. Firstly, while you can change the outcome of a couple plays and give them three more wins, two of their wins were also by one score. They have the point differential of a 4.2 - 5.8 team and are 4-6. This is not a good team that has had bad luck in close games; it is a bad team.

The passing game hasn't been great, but it's improved over the last month. Meanwhile the defense has been below-average on the season. That doesn't figure to get better as players like Gilmore and McCourty age out / leave / retire / get cut / etc. They need a QB of the future, but they might need to turn over almost the whole defense, too.
 

Captaincoop

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To SN's very good point...don't see one linebacker on the roster that I feel sure should be playing next year. And that includes Hightower, a year older and a year removed from NFL play.
 

BaseballJones

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I assume the main 2021 DBs will be: Jackson, JJones, Williams, Dugger, Bryant, Phillips, Chung (I suspect he comes back). That's - uh, theoretically - a good core. But YMMV. Honestly, Jason McCourty has been ABYSMAL this season. QBs have a 132.4 passer rating against JMac this season. I mean....it's not far from a perfect passer rating. The other DBs:

J Jones: 85.5 (not all-world, but better than average)
Jackson: 70.7
Gilmore: 74.0

I think the young defensive guys improve, hopefully the older and bad guys move on, and they add a few really nice pieces.
 

Average Game James

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Honestly, they aren't that far away no matter what Curran says as long as they can get the QB position resolved. My gut tells me they'll have even more than the $61 million in cap space after looking at what they can save by cutting a couple of veterans(Marcus Cannon being one). This isn't a 3-4 year rebuild.
They have a lot of cap space, but there are holes all over the roster. What position groups don't need an upgrade either via free agency or the draft? Secondary, maybe running backs, and maybe offensive line? Filling the QB position is going to take either a decent chunk of cap space or a good amount of draft capital (unless you think they go 0-6 the rest of the way and end up with a top 10 pick to take one of the guys not named Lawrence/Fields), and they have to get that decision right. Skill position players aren't cheap in FA - starting caliber WR cost $10 million/year and reasonable TEs run $6-8 million. $60 million in cap space will not rebuild the roster. There is a path for the Pats to be a much better team in the next year or two, but a lot of things have to go right including meaningful improvement from the current young players and really nailing the next draft.
 

EL Jeffe

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I feel a lot better about LB than I do about DL next year. DL is pretty much a dumpster fire and they never replaced Flowers, Malcolm Brown, or Shelton in the past couple of years. Yeah, you can't predict Beau Allen getting hurt before ever taking the field, but they're relying pretty heavily on street free agents these days because they never adequately addressed it.

At LB, Wino has generally been good (when out there), Uche has flashed, Hall looks like maybe he could be useful, and Jennings was a 3rd round pick (although he doesn't look athletic enough to play, but time will tell) who could have upside. DL and then CB would be my top priorities on that side of the ball next year.
 

Captaincoop

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Winovich can play...I'm still thinking of him as an edge rusher, but maybe the move to LB sticks. That's one.

The jury is out on Uche, Hall is a JAG. Neither of those are guys you can say right now you are building with, IMO.
 

BaseballJones

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I would like to see Jennings get up to about 260 and play a Vrabel or Ninkovich style edge player. He may not have the speed for LB but probably can hold his own on the edge like that.
 

Super Nomario

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Winovich can play...I'm still thinking of him as an edge rusher, but maybe the move to LB sticks. That's one.
I think they like the defense they had last year where you had three guys in Hightower, Van Noy, and Collins who could all play off ball or on the edge. High likely back, if Wino can do that too and maybe one of Uche / Jennings, things get a little interesting. Then Bentley / Hall can be in more appropriate limited early down run-stuffer roles.

They could really use a DT who can generate a semblance of pressure.
 

RedOctober3829

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I think they like the defense they had last year where you had three guys in Hightower, Van Noy, and Collins who could all play off ball or on the edge. High likely back, if Wino can do that too and maybe one of Uche / Jennings, things get a little interesting. Then Bentley / Hall can be in more appropriate limited early down run-stuffer roles.

They could really use a DT who can generate a semblance of pressure.
Especially since Wise is a UFA.
 

tims4wins

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I think they like the defense they had last year where you had three guys in Hightower, Van Noy, and Collins who could all play off ball or on the edge. High likely back, if Wino can do that too and maybe one of Uche / Jennings, things get a little interesting. Then Bentley / Hall can be in more appropriate limited early down run-stuffer roles.

They could really use a DT who can generate a semblance of pressure.
Feels like wherever the Pats end up in the draft, be it at 10 or 18 or whatever, they'll go this direction. I say this knowing zero about the draft. But it feels like BB will go that way and not draft a QB while all the fans and media complain.
 

RedOctober3829

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Feels like wherever the Pats end up in the draft, be it at 10 or 18 or whatever, they'll go this direction. I say this knowing zero about the draft. But it feels like BB will go that way and not draft a QB while all the fans and media complain.
I think by the draft we will know what direction they're going with QB. My initial thought is they will sign Cam to a short-term deal, but that is before we see what roster shakeups there are around the league. If they go the vet route, they'll target someone in the middle rounds. If they don't, then a higher pick is more likely.
 

BigSoxFan

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Feels like wherever the Pats end up in the draft, be it at 10 or 18 or whatever, they'll go this direction. I say this knowing zero about the draft. But it feels like BB will go that way and not draft a QB while all the fans and media complain.
And I’d be fine with it. Drafting a DL when everyone wanted a shiny skill position player is pretty much what jump started this dynasty beyond the obvious Brady/Bledsoe stuff. I'm tired of watching this DL. They suck and are almost never good. We really need some blue chip guys there and then everything else kind of falls into place on the defense. Problem is that this doesn't seem to be much of an interior DL draft. Lots of intriguing edge guys but I don't see very many interior DL on the mock drafts. May need to go FA route there.
 

tims4wins

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I think by the draft we will know what direction they're going with QB. My initial thought is they will sign Cam to a short-term deal, but that is before we see what roster shakeups there are around the league. If they go the vet route, they'll target someone in the middle rounds. If they don't, then a higher pick is more likely.
And I’d be fine with it. Drafting a DL when everyone wanted a shiny skill position player is pretty much what jump started this dynasty beyond the obvious Brady/Bledsoe stuff. I'm tired of watching this DL. They suck and are almost never good. We really need some blue chip guys there and then everything else kind of falls into place on the defense. Problem is that this doesn't seem to be much of an interior DL draft. Lots of intriguing edge guys but I don't see very many interior DL on the mock drafts. May need to go FA route there.
Agree with both of you, although I'm less convinced they will sign Cam
 

DourDoerr

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I'm on board with this too. With their number one picks, they took Seymour in 2001, Ty Warren in 2003 and Wilfork in 2004 while also spending a 4th on Jarvis Green in 2002. And that was the backbone of that decade. In 2012, they took Chandler Jones, then Easley in 2014 and Malcolm Brown in 2015, with their 1st round picks, so the 2nd go round wasn't nearly as successful. Despite that, they still got 3 SB's, with Jones starting to become a force in 2014 and Brown steady in 2016 and 2018. Seems about time to reinvest.

EDIT: Corrections, clarity
 
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BaseballJones

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I'm on board with this too. With their number one picks, they took Seymour in 2001, Ty Warren in 2003 and Wilfork in 2004 while also spending a 4th on Jarvis Green in 2002. And that was the backbone of that decade. In 2012, they took Chandler Jones, then Easley in 2014 and Malcolm Brown in 2015, so the 2nd go round wasn't nearly as successful. Despite that, they still got 2 SB's. Seems about time to reinvest.
But if they do that, then people will complain that they're not investing in the WR position......
 

DourDoerr

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Seems they tend to win SB's when they draft DT's high. Although we have scant evidence on how they'd fare drafting WR's at that altitude.
 

heavyde050

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I think a DL/DT makes a lot of sense if they are picking closer to 15 to 20. If the Pats end up picking like 9 to 12, and a guy like Zach Wilson is sitting there, I would really hope either the Pats draft him or trade down and pickup more draft picks.

Edit - in the trading back scenario, the Pats would draft a DL/DT after moving back.
 
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Holes all over the roster, outside of OL (but Thuney’s leaving) and secondary (minus Gilmore), take a QB if you love him, but otherwise BEST PLAYMAKING ANYBODY in the first round.