Roster Construction Scenario: Revis and McCourty Both Walk

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Few of us predicted this a month ago, but a scenario in which Revis and McCourty both hit free agency and leave is looking increasingly possible.  I still wouldn't call it likely - everything suggests that the team is pushing hard to retain Revis and our willingness to go the extra mile with McCourty may increase if the Revis situation does not work out - but its a lot more realistic than it seemed a few weeks ago and therefore seems worth discussing.
 
In that scenario, we'd have about $15.5M in cap space, with a somewhat likely Mayo cut potentially bringing that number closer to $20-22M depending on how that transaction would be structured.  A few million of that would be devoted to draft picks and rookies and the team would also likely want to enter the season with a couple million in breathing room, so figure on $15M in space with the potential to easily create more in various ways.
 
So what do we do with the cap space?  My gut feeling is that adding 3-4 solid players/backups would be a better strategy - and more along the way that BB thinks about roster construction - than making a big splash anywhere.  I might look at a FS that could compete with Harmon like Da'Norris Searcy, a DT like Dan Williams to stiffen the run defense, and see whether there are any bargain WRs to be found (Cecil Shorts?). I would definitely bring in another 3rd down back, whether that means resigning Vereen or looking at somebody else.
 
What would your priorities be (in terms of position and available players) in that situation?
 
 
 
 

Super Nomario

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If McCourty and Revis both go, that leaves Browner / Arrington / Ryan / Dennard / Butler as the CB group and Chung / Harmon / Wilson as the S. That's good CB depth, though weak at the top, and a pretty light safety group. I'd see the options as:
 
* Replace McCourty and Revis with solid starters who cost less, something like Flowers / Maxwell and Searcy / Moore. Could also be an option to use the first-round pick on a CB and have him compete for a starting job. Secondary takes a hit but is still decent, and they can use the extra resources on the front seven.
* Replace Revis with a solid starter as above, shift a CB (Arrington / Ryan or draftee) to safety and let him compete with Harmon / provide depth
* Go budget on secondary and work to improve front seven - that's not a good enough secondary with the pass rush we had last year, but if we add Hughes / McPhee / Orakpo, maybe it could hold up. Improving the run defense would also put offenses in more 3rd-and-long, where Patricia can bust out crazy blitzes (something we saw more of this year with Hightower and Collins' blitzing abilities).
 

theapportioner

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There had been talk about making Ryan a safety in the past, so that's certainly a possibility.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Super Nomario said:
If McCourty and Revis both go, that leaves Browner / Arrington / Ryan / Dennard / Butler as the CB group and Chung / Harmon / Wilson as the S. That's good CB depth, though weak at the top, and a pretty light safety group. I'd see the options as:
 
* Replace McCourty and Revis with solid starters who cost less, something like Flowers / Maxwell and Searcy / Moore. Could also be an option to use the first-round pick on a CB and have him compete for a starting job. Secondary takes a hit but is still decent, and they can use the extra resources on the front seven.
* Replace Revis with a solid starter as above, shift a CB (Arrington / Ryan or draftee) to safety and let him compete with Harmon / provide depth
* Go budget on secondary and work to improve front seven - that's not a good enough secondary with the pass rush we had last year, but if we add Hughes / McPhee / Orakpo, maybe it could hold up. Improving the run defense would also put offenses in more 3rd-and-long, where Patricia can bust out crazy blitzes (something we saw more of this year with Hightower and Collins' blitzing abilities).
 
That's a solid breakdown of options.
 
I'm a little wary about what these second tier secondary players might command in the market.  For example, Maxwell looks very risky to me - he has only one year of starting production and its a bit hard to tell how much the system in Seattle maximized his talents and hid his flaws.  But I've seen people talk about him getting between 7-10M AAV and 15-25M guaranteed due to corners being at such a premium.  Even at the low end of that range, I think I'd rather just pay McCourty or bump my offer to Revis. 
 
Adding some kind of safety depth, either through FA or if they really think Ryan can play there, seems like the one move that's close to a lock.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
 
I haven't done intense research on them, but most mocks have Kevin Johnson and Jalen Collins being the only guys really within reach for the 1st round pick. To you or anyone else that has studied up, are they potential #1 CBs? 
 
Quite frankly I think we're fucked if they both go. 
 
I don't really know but the other guy to think about is Marcus Peters, who has some serious red flags (he got kicked off the team at Washington) and had a relatively disappointing combine, but who some evaluators/draftniks believe has Top 10 or maybe even Top 5 talent.  Obviously he's somebody on whom any team would need to do some serious due diligence.  He's an Oakland kid who considers Beastmode his mentor, for whatever that's worth, good or bad.  His problems seem to be more about respecting authority than breaking the law.
 

Super Nomario

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
 
I haven't done intense research on them, but most mocks have Kevin Johnson and Jalen Collins being the only guys really within reach for the 1st round pick. To you or anyone else that has studied up, are they potential #1 CBs? 
 
Quite frankly I think we're fucked if they both go. 
I haven't done film on Collins (who had a great Combine) yet. I really like Johnson (article coming soon!) and he has a lot of Pats-y qualities, but I don't think he's a fit for as much man-to-man D as the Pats have played recently. He's really good in off-man and zone but I'm not sold on him in press.
 
 
Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
 
I don't really know but the other guy to think about is Marcus Peters, who has some serious red flags (he got kicked off the team at Washington) and had a relatively disappointing combine, but who some evaluators/draftniks believe has Top 10 or maybe even Top 5 talent.  Obviously he's somebody on whom any team would need to do some serious due diligence.  He's an Oakland kid who considers Beastmode his mentor, for whatever that's worth, good or bad.  His problems seem to be more about respecting authority than breaking the law.
Yeah, Peters is another guy, but I don't see him as a Patriot. P.J. Williams from FSU could be around; he had a pretty good Combine and has done a lot of press coverage for a college corner.