Pats Roster Planning: Defense

Shelterdog

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I don't think they knew at the time that the cap would be lower when they made the deal, but I could be wrong. I agree it's a lot of money, but it was only money. Flores needs to create a culture there in his image as soon as possible. KVN was, I think, a good shortcut to take. Pulling off the bandaid now after getting something akin to expected production isn't a bad trade-off. If he was expecting KVN to go pro-bowler for 3 years, then, yeah, it was a bad deal.
They paid him like he was going to be a pro bowler, so yeah, it was a bad deal.
 

BigSoxFan

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Oh, I get it ... but players have a funny way of going places you wouldn't expect sometimes.
Yup. Like Watt and Arizona. Hard to know what KVN would prioritize or if he even wants to come back. The lack of a competent QB really hurts the attractiveness of joining the Pats along with the perceived lack of fun in Foxboro by some players...
 

DourDoerr

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They paid him like he was going to be a pro bowler, so yeah, it was a bad deal.
True. But I'll stand by my original contention that the release is a solid move to make right now. Continuing to pay him at that level for production that's below expectations would be a bad non-move. They at least got something out of the deal that does have value and that value probably wasn't going increase from here.
 

E5 Yaz

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The lack of a competent QB really hurts the attractiveness of joining the Pats along with the perceived lack of fun in Foxboro by some players...
I imagine that there will be some players who look at the Patriots and look the other way, now that the GOAT has left the building. Money talks, of course; but you're right in suggesting that they might not be an attractive FA spot
 

BigSoxFan

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I imagine that there will be some players who look at the Patriots and look the other way, now that the GOAT has left the building. Money talks, of course; but you're right in suggesting that they might not be an attractive FA spot
I think this offseason will be a good test of how strong the Patriots brand is amongst players. This, of course, assumes that the team is aggressive in adding top-end or mid-tier talent, which I believe (and hope) they will.
 

Seels

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I thought KVN was the best player on the defense from 2017-2019. I'd be very supportive of him coming back.
 

vadertime

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I don't see KVN coming back. I seem to remember him firing multiple shots after signing with Miami and after Miami beat New England.
 

Old Fart Tree

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He busted some balls when they beat NE, as I recall, but I didn't take it as bad blood. I wouldn't mind him coming back.
 

Cellar-Door

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He busted some balls when they beat NE, as I recall, but I didn't take it as bad blood. I wouldn't mind him coming back.
yeah, I didn't take it that way either, especially with the stuff he said when he left which was all positive.
Also, the McCourty's appear to be recruiting him on twitter.
 

Jungleland

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Outside of TB, KVN was the guy I was saddest to see go even if I wanted no part of the Pats offering what he got from the Dolphins. Would be pumped to have him back here if the $$ aren't bad, not that I imagine many here feel differently.
 

mcpickl

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I don't see KVN coming back. I seem to remember him firing multiple shots after signing with Miami and after Miami beat New England.
This matters so much more to fans than the team.

Logan Mankins called Robert Kraft a liar, then later signed a longterm deal here.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Super Nomario

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Quite frankly - as the person who organized Doug Kyed doing a Q&A here a few years ago and was hoping for big things from him - hes full of shit. That dude lives to stir the pot. "Source says anything's on the table". No shit. Its fucking free agency.
Wasn't that Volin? Did Kyed do one too? I've always thought Kyed was all right.
 

Cellar-Door

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Oh nice. No idea what his cost would be but he's really good.
I had kind of assumed he was washed, but maybe not? His targets have been dwindling and he missed 4 games last year, but other than TDs (which have a lot of luck involved) his underlying numbers were pretty good.
 

DJnVa

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I had kind of assumed he was washed, but maybe not? His targets have been dwindling and he missed 4 games last year, but other than TDs (which have a lot of luck involved) his underlying numbers were pretty good.
He's not what he was a few seasons ago (who is?) but he's a solid NFL starting-caliber TE who would be good to have in the room with Asiasi and Keene.
 

Cellar-Door

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He's not what he was a few seasons ago (who is?) but he's a solid NFL starting-caliber TE who would be good to have in the room with Asiasi and Keene.
yeah, I agree. I was just saying my instinct was... oh yeah he's washed, but then I dug into it and it doesn't look like he really is, just having trouble staying healthy and losing targets to WRs and Smith.
 

BaseballJones

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He'd be a great pickup - he'd immediately be the best TE on the team, and would allow the Pats to keep grooming Asiasi and Keene. They could then dispatch Izzo and Lacosse, who wouldn't be needed. Would be a win-win, unless the price was too steep, but maybe his reduced stats will help keep the price low.
 

CapeCodYaz

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I think this offseason will be a good test of how strong the Patriots brand is amongst players. This, of course, assumes that the team is aggressive in adding top-end or mid-tier talent, which I believe (and hope) they will.
Lets be real--Brady was very much the Patriots brand. Belicheck sets up winning strategies and is gruff and expects a certain way to play which players will do if they trust the QB---but we have no QB and really no No. 1 & 2 receivers or TEs and our RB core may not be the same so as much as I love the Patriot way I think that is over and we just need to realize they will be in rebuild mode for a while--sadly like the Sox. But the B's look good again and the Celts are improving
 

DJnVa

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Lets be real--Brady was very much the Patriots brand. Belicheck sets up winning strategies and is gruff and expects a certain way to play which players will do if they trust the QB---but we have no QB and really no No. 1 & 2 receivers or TEs and our RB core may not be the same so as much as I love the Patriot way I think that is over and we just need to realize they will be in rebuild mode for a while--sadly like the Sox. But the B's look good again and the Celts are improving
It really doesn't take a while to rebuild in the NFL if you have smart people and cap space.
 

Bowhemian

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Lets be real--Brady was very much the Patriots brand. Belicheck sets up winning strategies and is gruff and expects a certain way to play which players will do if they trust the QB---but we have no QB and really no No. 1 & 2 receivers or TEs and our RB core may not be the same so as much as I love the Patriot way I think that is over and we just need to realize they will be in rebuild mode for a while--sadly like the Sox. But the B's look good again and the Celts are improving
Brady was certainly the face of "the Patriot way". But he was not the end all be all. That is BB. Absolutely Brady bought into it, and I have no doubt he sold it to many other players. But it is all in BB's hands, always has been. It won't be over until BB is gone, and even then, it is possible that his replacement will carry on the tradition.

Now if your comment is more towards whether or not the Patriots team can entice other players/free agents to join the team, I think that remains to be seen.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Extricating either BB or Brady from the ‘Patriots brand’, or weighing one against the other in terms of how much people identify the Patriots with one or the other, is a futile and laughable exercise.
 

Shelterdog

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It really doesn't take a while to rebuild in the NFL if you have smart people and cap space.
I'd put it differently. Rebuilds in the NFL happen quickly or they don't happen. (Kind of like the old gnome there's no such thing as a pitching prospect--you either knock it dead in player acquisitions for a couple of years in a row and you get good, or you don't do well in player acquisition and you just kind of stay bad or average.
 

BaseballJones

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When you have no QB in place and really no option to get one this year picking 15th unless they move up in the draft, the rebuild takes longer. QB is everything in the NFL. You can’t win in the league without one.
Lots of teams have won Super Bowls without a dynamic QB. Since TB joined the Pats, these are teams without a stud QB that have won the SB:

Season - Team (QB)
2000 - Baltimore (Trent Dilfer)
2001 - New England (Tom Brady - who at that point wasn't yet TOM BRADY, though obviously he would be soon)
2002 - Tampa Bay (Brad Johnson)
2007 - NY Giants (Eli Manning)
2011 - NY Giants (Eli Manning)
2013 - Baltimore (Joe Flacco)
2015 - Denver (Peyton Manning - who at that point was TERRIBLE...outright terrible - 59% passing, 9 td, 17 int, 67.9 rating, got benched during the season)
2017 - Philadelphia (Nick Foles)

So in the last 21 seasons, 8 of them were won by mediocre-to-bad QBs. Now on some of those teams, the QB got hot at the right time. And in some other cases, the team won primarily because of defense or a combo of defense and special teams. The QB wasn't the centerpiece of the team. That's nearly 40% of the time since TB entered the league, teams won with mediocre QBs (maybe you will argue that even in 2001, TB was elite, and though I don't think he was THEN, I won't argue with you about it).

There's more than one way to skin a cat. Having a great QB is just one way - and yes, it's *BETTER* to have a great QB than to not have a great QB, but you can win without one if your team is great in other ways.
 

tims4wins

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What do people think the Pats will do with JC Jackson? Personally I think they should tender him at the 2nd round level and see if there are any takers. If they could extend Gilmore and "trade" Jackson for a 2nd rounder I'd be pretty happy with that outcome.
 

BigSoxFan

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What do people think the Pats will do with JC Jackson? Personally I think they should tender him at the 2nd round level and see if there are any takers. If they could extend Gilmore and "trade" Jackson for a 2nd rounder I'd be pretty happy with that outcome.
My hope is to get another 2nd for either JC or Gilmore but would prefer to keep JC due to his age. Definitely tender JC at 2nd round or higher.
 

KingChre

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When you have no QB in place and really no option to get one this year picking 15th unless they move up in the draft, the rebuild takes longer. QB is everything in the NFL. You can’t win in the league without one.
You literally just listed an option.

I'm well aware that Belichick has been averse to moving future picks, but you are acting like moving from 15 to somewhere between 6 and 10 is some insurmountable hurdle.

Is it that crazy to think that they could like a QB, move up to get him and he actually turn out good?

It's not some fairy tale pipe dream for them to come out of this off season with a stud young QB, competent WRs and TEs and improved run defense.

It might be difficult but there are absolutely scenarios where they are good to very good again THIS season.
 

Cellar-Door

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Lots of teams have won Super Bowls without a dynamic QB. Since TB joined the Pats, these are teams without a stud QB that have won the SB:

Season - Team (QB)
2000 - Baltimore (Trent Dilfer)
2001 - New England (Tom Brady - who at that point wasn't yet TOM BRADY, though obviously he would be soon)
2002 - Tampa Bay (Brad Johnson)
2007 - NY Giants (Eli Manning)
2011 - NY Giants (Eli Manning)
2013 - Baltimore (Joe Flacco)
2015 - Denver (Peyton Manning - who at that point was TERRIBLE...outright terrible - 59% passing, 9 td, 17 int, 67.9 rating, got benched during the season)
2017 - Philadelphia (Nick Foles)

So in the last 21 seasons, 8 of them were won by mediocre-to-bad QBs. Now on some of those teams, the QB got hot at the right time. And in some other cases, the team won primarily because of defense or a combo of defense and special teams. The QB wasn't the centerpiece of the team. That's nearly 40% of the time since TB entered the league, teams won with mediocre QBs (maybe you will argue that even in 2001, TB was elite, and though I don't think he was THEN, I won't argue with you about it).

There's more than one way to skin a cat. Having a great QB is just one way - and yes, it's *BETTER* to have a great QB than to not have a great QB, but you can win without one if your team is great in other ways.
So basically if you take out the Brady year the breakdown is:
Tom Brady-7
Mediocre QB-7
Good non-Brady QB- 7
 

tims4wins

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My hope is to get another 2nd for either JC or Gilmore but would prefer to keep JC due to his age. Definitely tender JC at 2nd round or higher.
I've seen some people suggesting that they tender Jackson at the 1st round level but I don't see the point of that. No one would give up multiple firsts for him + sign him to a huge deal. Tender him at 2 and you'll have the option to match the offer or take the pick.
 

BigSoxFan

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I've seen some people suggesting that they tender Jackson at the 1st round level but I don't see the point of that. No one would give up multiple firsts for him + sign him to a huge deal. Tender him at 2 and you'll have the option to match the offer or take the pick.
Agreed. Give him a 2nd round tender because that’s still solid value and the cost of keeping him wouldn’t be prohibitive at that level.
 

DJnVa

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Lots of teams that didn't have Tom Brady signed free agents in the last decade. We'll be okay.
 

Super Nomario

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Lots of teams have won Super Bowls without a dynamic QB. Since TB joined the Pats, these are teams without a stud QB that have won the SB:

Season - Team (QB)
2000 - Baltimore (Trent Dilfer)
2001 - New England (Tom Brady - who at that point wasn't yet TOM BRADY, though obviously he would be soon)
2002 - Tampa Bay (Brad Johnson)
2007 - NY Giants (Eli Manning)
2011 - NY Giants (Eli Manning)
2013 - Baltimore (Joe Flacco)
2015 - Denver (Peyton Manning - who at that point was TERRIBLE...outright terrible - 59% passing, 9 td, 17 int, 67.9 rating, got benched during the season)
2017 - Philadelphia (Nick Foles)

So in the last 21 seasons, 8 of them were won by mediocre-to-bad QBs. Now on some of those teams, the QB got hot at the right time. And in some other cases, the team won primarily because of defense or a combo of defense and special teams. The QB wasn't the centerpiece of the team. That's nearly 40% of the time since TB entered the league, teams won with mediocre QBs (maybe you will argue that even in 2001, TB was elite, and though I don't think he was THEN, I won't argue with you about it).

There's more than one way to skin a cat. Having a great QB is just one way - and yes, it's *BETTER* to have a great QB than to not have a great QB, but you can win without one if your team is great in other ways.
It's tough to do without a great supporting cast, and the problem is this Patriots team is miles away from that.

What do people think the Pats will do with JC Jackson? Personally I think they should tender him at the 2nd round level and see if there are any takers. If they could extend Gilmore and "trade" Jackson for a 2nd rounder I'd be pretty happy with that outcome.
Jackson is one of the only good young players they have; it'd be nice to keep him even though I don't think he has real CB1 upside. One of the problems with this team is that they've let so many of their young players walk. They've always done that to some extent, but they literally only have 5 non-rookie contracts for 2022.

You literally just listed an option.

I'm well aware that Belichick has been averse to moving future picks, but you are acting like moving from 15 to somewhere between 6 and 10 is some insurmountable hurdle.

Is it that crazy to think that they could like a QB, move up to get him and he actually turn out good?

It's not some fairy tale pipe dream for them to come out of this off season with a stud young QB, competent WRs and TEs and improved run defense.

It might be difficult but there are absolutely scenarios where they are good to very good again THIS season.
Sometimes lightning strikes, like that one Giants year where they bought a bunch of free agents and went 12-4 under Ben McAdoo. Can they build a sustainable success this offseason? I have a harder time seeing it. It won't be difficult to improve the receiving corps and run defense, but they need to develop a young core of talent almost everywhere, including the secondary where they've been very strong. I think it's being undersold how shaky the defense is - it took a big step back last year, and the three cornerstones of the past 5+ years, McCourty, Gilmore, and Hightower, are all over 30 and all free agents after 2021. They are basically where they were in 09 where they need to swap out the heart of the defense (which took about five years), except they are also where they were offensively in 2006 (when the receivers were terrible before the flood of talent in 2007), AND they don't have a QB. It's a mess of a roster situation.
 

BaseballJones

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It's tough to do without a great supporting cast, and the problem is this Patriots team is miles away from that.
Winning a Super Bowl is tough to do...under ANY circumstances - even with the greatest team of all time. See: Patriots, 2007.
 

lexrageorge

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The team's roster was also a mess in 2000. Bledsoe was terrible, Brady was a complete unknown, and they were not competitive most games when they went 5-11. Still, Belichick still managed to sign free agents, include a number of players that followed him from the Jets.

They have the 4th most cap space in a year when a lot of teams are going to need to shed contracts, and are far closer to #1 than #5. Historically, lots of good QB's have been found after the 15th pick in the draft.

I get that the rebuild is not going to be easy, and there's no guarantee that it works. But it's hard to understand the doom and gloom; the Saints are facing a far more difficult rebuild.
 

pappymojo

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It's tough to do without a great supporting cast, and the problem is this Patriots team is miles away from that.
I respect your opinion a great deal, but I feel like the Patriots are kind of in a good spot. Tons of salary cap space in an off-season where most of the league is in a serious cap crunch.

The Patriot Way, to me, was always about roster construction where they refrained from overspending on star players and instead built their roster through a very strong, middle class player pool. In other words, finding undervalued players (Vrabel, Moss, Weller, etc.) and utilizing them to take advantage of their abilities.

Which teams, like the Saints, are in cap hell? Of those teams, what players might available in trade?
Saints
Eagles
Rams
Chiefs
Steelers
Packers
Falcons

Saints, Eagles, and Rams are in the worst shape. Eagles and Rams because they had to eat a ton of money for the Wentz and Goff trades.

https://overthecap.com/salary-cap-space/
Pulling this discussion from the NFL Transactions thread.

Just sort of a fun exercise for me. I think it's interesting how the Patriots basically swallowed their medicine last year (in regards to cap hell) and then the pandemic hit and it became a sort of lost year that reset the salary cap.

Now they appear to be in good position to find value.

I think this off season might be custom made for Belichick.
 

tims4wins

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The team's roster was also a mess in 2000. Bledsoe was terrible, Brady was a complete unknown, and they were not competitive most games when they went 5-11. Still, Belichick still managed to sign free agents, include a number of players that followed him from the Jets.

They have the 4th most cap space in a year when a lot of teams are going to need to shed contracts, and are far closer to #1 than #5. Historically, lots of good QB's have been found after the 15th pick in the draft.

I get that the rebuild is not going to be easy, and there's no guarantee that it works. But it's hard to understand the doom and gloom; the Saints are facing a far more difficult rebuild.
I agree with much of your post but the bolded isn't quite true. They started off 0-4:
21-16 vs TB
20-19 @ NYJ
21-13 vs. MIN
10-3 @ MIA

Obviously they couldn't score, but they lost those 4 games by 21 total.

Then after winning 2 in a row, they lost:
L 34-17 vs NYJ (not close)
L 23-20 @ IND (OT) (IND was a playoff team)
L16-13 vs BUF (OT)
L 19-11 @ CLE
W 16-13 vs. CIN
L 34-9 @ DET (blowout, Brady's first appearance!)
W 30-24 vs. KC
L 24-17 @ CHI
W 13-10 @ BUF (OT)
L 27-24 vs. MIA

In sum, of their 11 losses:
4 were by 3 points or fewer
9 were by 8 points or fewer
2 were by multiple scores

That team was more competitive than people remember. Based on the number of close games it's actually not a huge surprise they turned it around in 2001.
 

Super Nomario

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The team's roster was also a mess in 2000. Bledsoe was terrible, Brady was a complete unknown, and they were not competitive most games when they went 5-11. Still, Belichick still managed to sign free agents, include a number of players that followed him from the Jets.
There was definitely a lot of work to do, but they had pieces in place: Milloy was 27, Bruschi was 27, Ty Law was 26, McGinest was 29 - that was the core of a great defense. They had to fill in pieces around them, and on offense (though Brown and Woody were already there), but there was some core talent.

I get that the rebuild is not going to be easy, and there's no guarantee that it works. But it's hard to understand the doom and gloom; the Saints are facing a far more difficult rebuild.
The Saints have some good young players though: Lattimore, Thomas, they have probably the best tackle tandem in football, Kamara. I think I'd rather have young players and cap issues than have a ton of cap space and little young talent.

The Patriot Way, to me, was always about roster construction where they refrained from overspending on star players and instead built their roster through a very strong, middle class player pool. In other words, finding undervalued players (Vrabel, Moss, Weller, etc.) and utilizing them to take advantage of their abilities.
They had key guys around them though - the defenders I mentioned above, then Seymour with a high pick, later Wilfork. And of course, Brady. Then in 2010, they added Gronk and McCourty, who were mainstays throughout the decade to follow, and Hightower a couple years later. The middle class is important, but you can't build a whole team out of milddle class. You use free agency to plug holes and supplement where you need to. The problem with this team is there's no core.