Your 2015 roster plan

Kenny F'ing Powers

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No more Revis? 
 
Good. I hated his stupid beard anyway.
 

 
Here's my plan.
 
2015 New England Patriots cap space$14,441,953 (3/11/2015)
 
Potential Restructures
Stephen Gostkowski - Franchise tag, $4.54. Long term extension averaging  $3.5mm a year.
Jerod Mayo - Contract restructure. 1 year added to back end of contract, cap hit down to 7.1mm (current yearly average), guarantee a few extra million in the contract. Saves $3.1mm
Nate Solder - Current cap hit, $7.43mm. Restructure long term. 5 year, $8 mm a year, $20mm guaranteed. Load the middle three years of the contract, only account for $6 mm cap space this year.
Danny Amendola - No Restructure. Team has no leverage with dead cap hit.
 
Total Savings: $5.53mm
 
New Cap Space: $19,971,953
 
Team Needs
CB
Pass Rush
DT
Guard
RB
 
Plan
With a lack of premier corner backs left on the market, the Patriots may be better served focusing on a pass rush to limit the time for QB's to throw the ball. With that in mind, I feel money is better spent up front than in the secondary.
 
Players to sign
Greg Hardy - due to the PR nightmare associated with signing him, there are already several teams with cap space who have expressed no interest in Hardy. I'd offer a 4 year, $32mm ($24mm guaranteed) contract to Hardy with years 2&3 containing the larger hit. While the total is low, the $24mm guarantee would be the fifth highest guarantee for defensive ends. It's quite a gamble, but players know it's all about guaranteed money. First year hit of $6.5mm.
 
Chris Culliver - 3 year contract, $12mm total, $10mm guaranteed.
 
Henry Melton - Should probably command less than Paea, and provides good pressure up the middle. 4 year contract, $16mm total, $12mm guaranteed, $3.5mm cap hit first year.
 
Jacquizz Rodgers - 2 year contract, $1.2mm total, $1mm guaranteed. Can catch out of the backfield and despite his size, has shown a willingness to pass block. I'd prefer Pierre Thomas if he can come on the cheap, but I think you can get some value out of Rodgers for the Shane Vereen role.
 
Dan Connolly - 2 year contract, $2.5mm total, $1.8mm guaranteed. He's 33 years old and won't command much money. Joe Berger, a player of similar age/skill just signed for 2 years/2.155mm total. The team knows they can win with him and will probably focus on some interior depth in the draft.
 
This leaves the team with roughly a little north of $4mm to sign draft picks and play with.
 
Feel free to tear this apart. How would you construct the 2015 new England Patriots?
 

MillarTime

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Kenny F'ing Powers said:
Chris Culliver - 3 year contract, $12mm total, $10mm guaranteed.
 
Overall, really well laid out and like the direction. My only real question is whether this is a realistic target contract for Culliver. Given the scarcity at the moment, not sure. 
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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MillarTime said:
 
Overall, really well laid out and like the direction. My only real question is whether this is a realistic target contract for Culliver. Given the scarcity at the moment, not sure. 
 
It's certainly low relative to what's been getting handed out, and probably wouldn't be enough to bait him in. I'd probably be willing to add a year and $1mm per year (4 years, $20mm), which puts him in line with other contracts this year, especially if you're willing to guarantee 2/3 of it.
 
I'd probably pull that money from Connolly and consider rolling with what we have at guard/draft picks.
 

Phragle

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Culliver is my main target. I'd also see if Knighton is still a Patriots fan and I would have signed Clint Boling, but he just re-signed with Cincy for just 5/26M.
 
I know people will hate this, but if he's viewed around the league like he is by Patriots fans, I'd trade Garoppolo for a first or a player under his rookie contract.
 

RedOctober3829

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Phragle said:
Culliver is my main target. I'd also see if Knighton is still a Patriots fan and I would have signed Clint Boling, but he just re-signed with Cincy for just 5/26M.
 
I know people will hate this, but if he's viewed around the league like he is by Patriots fans, I'd trade Garoppolo for a first or a player under his rookie contract.
I would do a Garoppolo trade for a 1st in a heart beat.  Pair the 1sts together to move up in the draft to get an impact defensive player.
 

pappymojo

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I like the approach.  Would like them to keep some cash on hand to potentially pick up some bargains after the big free agent feeding frenzy has died down. 
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Phragle said:
Culliver is my main target. I'd also see if Knighton is still a Patriots fan and I would have signed Clint Boling, but he just re-signed with Cincy for just 5/26M.
 
I know people will hate this, but if he's viewed around the league like he is by Patriots fans, I'd trade Garoppolo for a first or a player under his rookie contract.
 
I'd certainly kick the tires on Knighton.  The Raiders apparently offered him in the range of $6M AAV and he's now looking elsewhere, so it could be that his market isn't that strong.  Getting a one-man run defense would help quite a bit in terms of allowing us to play more sub packages. Partnering with a guy like Knighton inside might also let Easley more fully focus on his strengths as a penetrator and pass rusher.  We're not going to meaningfully improve our outside pass rush (although I'm still interested in Jabaal Sheard there as a rotational guy for this year and as cover if Chandler Jones leaves after next year) so putting Easley in the best position to succeed as an impact inside rusher makes sense to me.
 

wutang112878

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I wonder if they could do something like sign Rahim Moore and revamp the safety position which would allow McCourty to move back to corner?  Its a question mark as to how great of a fit McCourty is but I think he might be better at corner than any other corner we could bring in at the moment.  I have a feeling they might have to do something a bit unorthodox along those lines.
 

theapportioner

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Is Cromartie much of an upgrade at this point? Felt like in recent years he's been susceptible to giving up big plays more often.
 

NortheasternPJ

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I think there's zero chance they go anywhere near Hardy, but perhaps I am still living in the Times of Myra. 
 
I'm with you on this. I just can't see them, but not because of Myra, but a certain guy who used to love blue bubble gum and the NFL actually getting serious about this stuff last season.
 
Guaranteed $24 million? hahahahaha no way. He's not the type of guy you want to be locked into without an out.
 

Stitch01

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RedOctober3829 said:
I would do a Garoppolo trade for a 1st in a heart beat.  Pair the 1sts together to move up in the draft to get an impact defensive player.
This would probably be the most stunning thing that could happen IMO.  Not whether its right or wrong, just really doubt that's how the Pats approach this based on everything we've seen them do for the last decade and a half.
 

IdiotKicker

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I don't like much, if anything on the corner market. So I want to restructure the defense to look more like the 2001-2004 up front to compensate:
 
-Sign Knighton to play DT ($7M/yr)
-Slide Easley out as a 3-4 DE
-Grab a guy like Preston Smith from MSU at the back of the first round to play the other DE, as well as sign a capable backup
-Nink and Jones becomes traditional 3-4 OLBs
-Hightower and Collins can provide pressure up the middle in regular package
-Restructure Mayo to use in sub packages
-Bring in Reggie Bush on a $2-2.5M/year deal to replace Vereen
-Bring in Andre Johnson. Load up the offense
-Draft an OT in round 2 to provide for transition from Solder after this season
 

RedOctober3829

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Stitch01 said:
This would probably be the most stunning thing that could happen IMO.  Not whether its right or wrong, just really doubt that's how the Pats approach this based on everything we've seen them do for the last decade and a half.
Based on their approach, they'd do a deal with somebody for that extra #1 pick for a 2016 1st.  I think they should move up and get an impact D-line player like Malcom Brown.
 

IdiotKicker

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RedOctober3829 said:
Based on their approach, they'd do a deal with somebody for that extra #1 pick for a 2016 1st.  I think they should move up and get an impact D-line player like Malcom Brown.
 
Brown would be a great get, but I think given the availability of a guy like Knighton, I look to fill DT through free agency here and look DE at the back end of round 1 or trading back to the start of round 2.
 

Super Nomario

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Chuck Z said:
 
Brown would be a great get, but I think given the availability of a guy like Knighton, I look to fill DT through free agency here and look DE at the back end of round 1 or trading back to the start of round 2.
I'd like to add a DT and a DE, but doesn't CB have to be the draft priority given the weakness of the FA market?
 

RedOctober3829

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Super Nomario said:
I'd like to add a DT and a DE, but doesn't CB have to be the draft priority given the weakness of the FA market?
CB quality in the draft isn't considered strong this year at the top.  At #32, the most you can conceivably hope for is Marcus Peters and he's got a ton of red flags.  I think with the Patriots' inconsistent rate of developing CBs, they need to address it in FA first then see what the draft brings.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Super Nomario said:
I'd like to add a DT and a DE, but doesn't CB have to be the draft priority given the weakness of the FA market?
 
This is what I'm thinking.  Sign Knighton (~7M AAV, maybe 5M first year cap hit) and a depth 4-3 DE/Edge type (maybe Sheard if not too expensive).  Then plan to go CB in round one or two of the draft, looking also at interior OL and WR/TE as alternatives if no CB is available that we like.
 

nighthob

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Super Nomario said:
I'd like to add a DT and a DE, but doesn't CB have to be the draft priority given the weakness of the FA market?
The CBs are a pretty uninspiring lot this year, I'd rather roll the dice on Culliver and look to the D-line in the draft. I mean, yes, sometime on day three the Pats are going to draft some guy named Jarvis Whortleberry from the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople. But outside that I think the d-line prospects are a much better bet this year.
 

dynomite

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Chuck Z said:
I don't like much, if anything on the corner market. So I want to restructure the defense to look more like the 2001-2004 up front to compensate:
Love the ideas, I think we're generally on the same page.

Two things:

1)
Chuck Z said:
-Bring in Reggie Bush on a $2-2.5M/year deal to replace Vereen
-Bring in Andre Johnson. Load up the offense
I actually don't really want either of these guys.
- I think LaFell is better and better suited to the offense than Johnson at this point in their careers. LaFell is also a really good open field blocker (the Amendola TD in the Ravens game, right), sort of negating what would otherwise be Johnson's strength when compared to almost any other outside WR, and Johnson will cost much more.
- I like Bush well enough, but would rather pay a lesser amount to Roy Helu or Pierre Thomas and get relatively similar skills, keeping the roster flexible.

2) re: the CB market -- Totally agreed, it's crap, and I don't want to pay any of the remaining guys. (Except for Rashean Mathis as a #2 on a 1 year deal, who has always seemed like a perfect Belichick guy and I have wanted to sign every offseason for probably 4 years)

My question is whether there are CBs on the trade market that could be interesting. For instance, the Chiefs' Sean Smith? The Chiefs are in cap hell, and Smith is due $7.75M and is a free agent after 2015. He wouldn't really help transition away from our man press scheme, but he's a really talented young player who could be available.

Edit: cleaned up a few details and spellings
 

Harry Hooper

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Stitch01 said:
This would probably be the most stunning thing that could happen IMO.  Not whether its right or wrong, just really doubt that's how the Pats approach this based on everything we've seen them do for the last decade and a half.
 
The Pats have treated their #1's differently once the new salary structure for first-rounders was put in place.
 

j44thor

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I think the right approach is what NE has always done and that is look for value and figure out how to best fit the pieces after.
 
Percy Harvin was traded for a boatload two off-seasons ago so I have to believe the talent is still there.  He might be open to a 1yr deal to revamp his market and hit the open market again next season.  Same thing with CJ Spiller who was sensational in 2012 and still averaged over 4YPC while mostly injured in 2013.  He was also never really used properly in BUF.  Those two would present match-up nightmares in NE spread offense.
 
Grab one or both of them to go along with Knighton and bring back Browner who if nothing else will help out in the redzone.
 
Draft should focus on the OL/DL unless one of the big WR falls into your lap.  Grab a couple DB's in the 3-5th rds.
 

Super Nomario

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RedOctober3829 said:
CB quality in the draft isn't considered strong this year at the top.  At #32, the most you can conceivably hope for is Marcus Peters and he's got a ton of red flags.  I think with the Patriots' inconsistent rate of developing CBs, they need to address it in FA first then see what the draft brings.
I'm not in love with the draft CBs (though I do like some of them), but the FA guys don't blow air up my skirt either. Ideally they look at both options. I have the two weakest spots on the team right now as CB1 and LG.
 

dynomite

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Super Nomario said:
I'm not in love with the draft CBs (though I do like some of them), but the FA guys don't blow air up my skirt either. Ideally they look at both options. I have the two weakest spots on the team right now as CB1 and LG.
What do you think about Mathis as a 1-year bridge?

I know I bring him up every year and he gets older every year -- just like me :-( -- but I've always thought he was the kind of smart, big, experienced player who offers skills we lack in the secondary at an affordable cost (and could accept a flexible role to play for a contender?)

For reference, in 2014 he signed a 1-year contract with the Lions for $955K, with 50% guaranteed, for a cap number of $635K. That seems like a steal for a guy who could potentially start some games for the 2015 Pats.

Edit: Rashean Mathis, the former Jags/Lions CB.
 

Stitch01

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Harry Hooper said:
 
The Pats have treated their #1's differently once the new salary structure for first-rounders was put in place.
The trading Jimmy G piece would be the more stunning part of that to me.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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I have two more items in the wish list:
  1. Get Pot Roast: man the middle as a Wilfork replacement
  2. Get Chandler: upgrade Hooman's position. Would have loved to sign Virgil Green, but that bird's flown. Despite what Chandler did to the Pats, he's a better blocker than receiver. However, he can break out if given the chance -- something he can do better than Hooman.
  3. Get Perrish Cox: as a depth CB, you can do much worse. He has talent and as long as he can keep his nose clean, he'll be a valuable addition
So Pot Roast, Scott Chandler, and Perrish Cox. 
 

ivanvamp

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We've seen this play out before.  The Pats field a somewhat weak defensive backfield, be solid against the run, struggle to get a consistent pass rush, and opposing QBs - even crummy ones - throw for 250+ yards on them.  It means fewer three-and-outs, more ball possession for the opposing team, and fewer chances for the Pats' offense to work.
 
That said, we've also seen that system - so long as the offense continues to play at a very high level - reach 5 AFCCGs in 9 years since their last SB victory (2006-07 vs Ind, 2007-08 vs SD, 2011-12 vs Bal, 2012-13 vs Bal, and 2013-14 vs Den), and go to 2 Super Bowls.  Now they lost those two Super Bowls, but they lost them by crazy plays that teams really have no business making.  And it ALMOST happened again this past season, even with that really good defense - the Kearse catch probably should have won Seattle the game if not for Miracle Malcolm.  
 
The point being that I think it is clear what will happen next year.  The pass rush will struggle to be consistent.  The run D should be solid.  The secondary will give up yards.  The offense will have to play at a very high level.
 
But you know what?  The offense WILL play at a very high level.  And I think the defense will be a playmaking defense, generating lots of turnovers.  Butler, though I don't see him being an all-pro or anything, is a playmaker.  So is Ryan.  And McCourty.  And Collins.  And Ninkovich.  And Jones.  This defense will generate turnovers.  Can they get them in key spots?  I don't know.  
 
I do know that the Patriots will be very, very good, so long as Brady stays healthy and has a pretty clean jersey at the end of the day.  He has excellent weapons.  We've seen what a healthy Gronk means to this offense.  Edelman has emerged as a star.  LaFell is very, very solid.  The running game can be punishing.  They can add playmakers with Harvin and improve their TEs by snagging Chandler.  The offense should be elite next year.  
 
An elite offense and an average defense that generates turnovers absolutely can win the AFC and quite possibly another Super Bowl.  
 
So with all that said, here's what I'd do in terms of roster construction from this point forward.  
 
- Good move getting Sheard.  Love that pickup.
- I'd add another CB - try to get Browner or Culliver.  Need another quality CB, even if there's some risk involved.  
- Get a playmaker - Bush or Harvin.  Neither is without concerns, but holy cow, either would be dynamic with this team.
- Add Chandler.  A TE trio of Gronk, Chandler, and Wright really should give the other team fits.
- Add Knighton to beef up the DL.
- Use the draft to add OL and DBs.
 
I think the Pats can do all that relatively easily and stay under the cap, is my guess.  
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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ivanvamp said:
The point being that I think it is clear what will happen next year.  The pass rush will struggle to be consistent.  The run D should be solid.  The secondary will give up yards.  The offense will have to play at a very high level.
 
 
They are probably not going to bring back their best run stopper (Wilfork) from that stretch. After his injury in 2013, the team was giving up 4.6 YPC, which would have been tied for 4th worst in the NFL. 
 
What makes you think the run D should be solid?
 
 
ivanvamp said:
But you know what?  The offense WILL play at a very high level.  And I think the defense will be a playmaking defense, generating lots of turnovers.  Butler, though I don't see him being an all-pro or anything, is a playmaker.  So is Ryan.  And McCourty.  And Collins.  And Ninkovich.  And Jones.  This defense will generate turnovers.  Can they get them in key spots?  I don't know.  
 
 
This just wreaks of hyperbole. If his interception came in a regular season game, would he be defined as "a playmaker"? It's good to know that he can perform when the lights are at their brightest, but that doesn't make him better throughout a 16 game season. 
 
As for Ryan and McCourty being playmakers...huh? McCourty is a fantastic free safety because he's good at limiting big plays and he's a sure tackler, but that's not being a playmaker. It's being consistent, which I'd argue is nearly the opposite. He had 2 interceptions this year. 16 safeties had more. he had 1 last year. He had 1 FF this year. The strengths he brings to the table - consistency, solid tackling, good angles, not letting WR's past him, etc - are the traits I'd look for in a FS, but they certainly don't fall into a ball-hawking, "playmaking" definition.
 
I'm not sure what makes Ryan a playmaker. He's an average CB that has to prove himself in 2015. If he's a playmaker, then half the CB's in the league are playmakers.
 
I'd argue that, with the departures on defense (Revis, Browner, Wilfork, and presumably Ayers), they've lost three of the biggest "playmakers" last year and their best run stuffing defensive lineman. While I like what the DE's and LB's can bring to the table, I think this team still has a way to go in free agency to assuage concerns that the defense hasn't taken a giant leap backwards.
 

Devizier

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According to Miguel, the Patriots are 9.9M under the cap right now.
 
I think the Mayo restructure (or possible post-June cut) and a Solder extension, as proposed by Kenny Powers, are reasonable avenues to pursue. I like the Gostkowski extension proposal as well, although I rate that as being less likely. Either way, let's assume the Patriots can liberate $4.5 million of cap space for this season, giving them $14.4 million available.
 
I think bringing back Connolly should be a priority. The Patriots are almost certainly going to draft in the interior line and Connolly would be an ideal backup G/C.
 
Of the remaining free agents at the position, Culliver might be worth a shot. I wouldn't be heartbroken if the Patriots don't get him. There will be comparable players cut or traded later on.
 
If the Patriots can bring him back as a situational guy, Wilfork should be back. But if the rumors of 2/10 are accurate, well, thanks for the memories, Vince. I can't really see the Patriots winning a bidding war for Terrence Knighton, if it comes to that.  Despite his age, I would like to see Randy Starks in a Patriots uniform. Sounds like the team is looking at a Vince-bodied guy like Rubin, however.
 
As for the Vereen role, I would wait and see on what the market is for guys like Bush and Spiller. Harvin sort of fits in this category, too, although I think his signing would necessitate a move on Amendola, which could be cost-prohibitive.
 
So my plan is:
 
Bring back Connolly.
Sign Randy Starks.
Low-mid offer on Culliver, else hold for cuts.
Wait and see on a third down back.
Keep space available for next season's Ayers and Talibs.
 

IdiotKicker

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Looking through the players still available, there's very little I'd really like to spend money on.
 
Kick the tires on Spiller to see what he's looking for, but I imagine he's too expensive for what the Pats are looking for.
 
Look into bringing in BJ Raji on a cheap deal to see if he can re-establish himself as a high-caliber player.
 
See if Brandon Spikes wants to come back on a one or two year deal as a complementary piece.
 
Reggie Bush still interests me, but I don't know if he'd come at the price the Pats would want.
 
Ridley might find himself back here on a one-year "prove it" deal.
 
Beyond that, I'm not particularly interested in spending that money on anyone else out there.
 

Dr. Gonzo

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Sign the cheaper of Raji or Wilfork ( $1.5 to $2 million )
Sign the cheaper of Traymon Williams or Perrish Cox ( $4 million )
Sign the cheaper of Reggie Bush or Pierre Thomas ( $3 million )
$1.5 to sign draft picks
 
That leaves roughly $1.8 million in cap space for any in season trades. The number could also increase with Mayo or Ghost restructures.
 
Buffalo and the Jets had great fronts before the offseason and Miami upgraded with Suh. I'd be thrilled if NE used a 4th round pick and traded for Evan Mathis. I originally read the cap hit for 2015 was $5M but now I'm reading its $6.5M this year. Maybe there is a way for the Eagles to eat some of it. Either way, I really don't want to see Brady running for his life in every AFC East game next season.
 

dcmissle

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RedOctober3829 said:
Patriots now with just over $12 million in cap space after the Amendola restructure per Miguel.
 
CapSpace=$9,806,603 ‏@
patscap  [/SIZE] [URL="https://twitter.com/patscap/status/576382657195560960

https://twitter.com/patscap/status/576382657195560960"]32s33

link to tweet seconds ago[/url]
It appears that Pats saved $2,583,334 in cap space. New cap space no=12,389,937


How much do they usually set aside for draftees, and what's the size of their rainy day fund?
Thanks
 

dynomite

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Chuck Z said:
Looking through the players still available, there's very little I'd really like to spend money on.
I'm still pining for CB Rashean Mathis.

Would you be willing to pay for him? (~$1M, $500K guar.). I outlined some of the pro/cons above.

Interestingly, I found a Globe article after the Lions game this year where Mathis was highlighted for potentially blowing a playcall -- he was in man while the rest of the secondary was in zone, leaving Wright wide open for a TD.

Still, given his size, reputation, and experience, I think he could be a short-term stopgap, especially in a year with such a weak CB FA/draft class.
 

IdiotKicker

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Yeah, if you could grab him cheap with little in terms of guarantees, I'd be in favor of bringing him in. I always get concerned about players in their mid-30s, but he's worth a look if you can do a deal similar to what you outlined there.
 
As you also mentioned above, I'd be curious as to what is out there on the trade market, but it's hard to get a read on what is really available and what the cost would be since FA is still in motion.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Solder is a bit of a concern for a restructure. He's had four or five concussions, I think, which seems like a big number for an o-lineman. It doesn't seem the modest cap savings it would produce is necessarily worth the long term commitment. I'm kind of glad he's getting a big payday this year and hope he invests it wisely. I think he played 2014 concussion free. It would be nice to see another 8 to 10 game before considering a longer term investment.
 

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My plan for entering next season would include:
 
- adding a pass catching running back so that I wasn't only choosing between James White, Tyler Gaffney and a 2015 draft pick for that role.  Pierre Thomas looks like the best option right now but he may be asking for more than the Patriots' liking, which was likely the case with Reggie Bush.  Chris Price mentioned Ahmad Bradshaw but I would pass on him.
 
- adding a veteran corner.  Cox was my choice but with him off the board, there don't seem to be many good options.  Would Bill really roll with Ryan, Arrington, Butler and rookies?  I get putting more emphasis on the pass rush but damn, that's a very thin group at corner.    
 
- finalizing the offensive line.  Connolly still has not been signed and no one has been added.  Marcus Cannon could be an answer for the Connolly spot and his contract, while not huge, exceeds what one would expect given his play thus far.  So they may intend to give him a real shot.  And Kline is still there, I believe.  He played better than I expected in Stork's absence.
 
- dealing with the interior defensive line.  Ideally, I'd bring Vince back.  With all the changes, I would value his leadership and presence, not to mention his game (even with some fall off).  That said, given where other guys have signed at, his price might be too high.  I like the Branch re-signing but I think they need more.  Are there other free agents for that spot worth considering?
 
- signing Stevie Johnson on Monday if they like how he handles himself in interviews and believe that his lack of production in SF was an abberation and not tied to a permanent diminishment in physical skills.  The former will be easier to assess than the latter.
 
- given Hightower's injury, signing another LB unless they plan to bring back Mayo and think he'll be healthy to start the season. 
 
- ideally drafting the best available athletes but, depending on how the rest of free agency goes, filling in at CB, RB, LB and both lines.
 

dcmissle

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We're only a week in, but the pattern might indicate they are expecting more from young guys on the roster than the rest of us would be inclined to. Of course, that is hard to second guess. And, of course, a trade could come at any time.

There have been very reasonable signings by other teams at positions we need. Helu to Oakland, Pot Roast to Wash, for example. You can say that the Pats had specific problems with each of these players, but the D line market appears soft generally and there they extended one of their own for two years at money not much different than Knighton got, and Knighton signed for one.

My guess is CB is baked. It's thin, but there is plenty of time to add veteran depth.

Pass catching RB interests me. Again, maybe they like White a bunch because it's hard to see putting a lot of reliance on someone plucked out of the draft.

Looks like they will rely on the draft a ton for the interior lines, and I'm fine with that. They have no choice but to hit that heavily on offense given what they have.

They may well have some cap space left, and maybe that gets rolled into extending guys who would free up next year.
 

ivanvamp

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Jul 18, 2005
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I trust Belichick, But it's hard to believe that the 2015 Patriots will have, as their top four corners, Dennard, Ryan, Arrington, and Butler.

They've gotta add SOMEONE solid, right? But who could it be?
 

Toe Nash

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The thing about CBs is that their performance is very volatile, AND they get injured a lot, at least it seems like (or maybe that their role relies so much on being in peak physical condition that injuries others could play through make them useless).
 
I remember being excited that Leigh Bodden had signed a multi-year deal here after a solid season, only for him to get hurt and then retire. Ellis Hobbs or Talib getting hurt in-game may have cost us Super Bowls. Multiple high draft picks have shown promise only to be mediocre the next year. And so on.
 
Revis was great and commanded a huge premium because he is not only a very good player but apart from one year he's never been hurt, nor has his performance really dropped. But those players are few...some of the CBs signed this offseason are going to play well, but beyond Revis I don't think anyone could really pick which ones with much certainty.
 
So...I really can't worry about the CB position. Especially as (unlike say RB) they have been able to plug rookies in and get decent or better performance in the past. They may be scrambling all year, but I think that could easily be the case even if they signed a more proven guy now. It doesn't seem like Revis was really ever in the cards, so not overspending to "replace" him seems like a pretty good decision.
 

theapportioner

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wutang112878

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Toe Nash said:
 
So...I really can't worry about the CB position. Especially as (unlike say RB) they have been able to plug rookies in and get decent or better performance in the past. They may be scrambling all year, but I think that could easily be the case even if they signed a more proven guy now. It doesn't seem like Revis was really ever in the cards, so not overspending to "replace" him seems like a pretty good decision.
 
When they've hit, yes they find corners who can contribute in year 1 but the problem is the hit rate:
 
  • 2014 - Malcom Butler UDFA who has a case for team MVP
  • 2013 - Logan Ryan 3rd round - immediate contributor
  • 2013 - Duran Harmon - more of a rotational guy who really couldnt seize a potential starting role in year 2
  • 2012 - Tavon Wilson 2nd round (thats not a typo) - special teamer
  • 2012 - Nate Eber 6th round - really drafted as just a STer
  • 2012 - Alfonzo Dennard 6th round - slipped due to off-field stuff and contributed year 1 but dropped off year 2
  • 2011 - Rasi Dowling 2nd round - miss
  • 2011 - Malcolm Williams 7th round - miss but to be expected in 7th
  • 2010 - Devin McCourty 1st round - hit
  • 2009 - Patrick Chung 2nd round - miss his first time around
  • 2009 - Darius Butler 2nd round - miss
 
I'd forget about the 4th round and beyond because the hit rate there is brutal and you really shouldnt 'expect' to get an immediate contributor there.  In the 1st round its pretty rare that Bill will miss but in that 2nd & 3rd range we have Ryan, Harmon, Wilson, Chung and Butler so if we 'plan' on finding a contributing secondary player there I think we're in trouble.  
 
For November if they really want to contend, I think they need a corner on this team who is better than the guys currently on the roster.  I think that ship has sailed in free agency, so its looking like it has to be via trade or the draft and if its the later then I think Bill has to use that 1st pick on need instead of best available.
 
Those are my logical thoughts on the matter but after typing it I realized that Bill won us a superbowl with Earthwind Moreland at corner and held Peyton to 238 yards and no TDs in the division round that year without Ty Law, so....
 

( . ) ( . ) and (_!_)

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I've been thinking about the group of CBs on the roster vs. the pre-Talib days of when the pass defense gave us all the runs.  Specifically I'm trying to work out how long the players in next year's defensive backfield have been with the team vs. how long the CBs had been with the team back in 2011 and 2012.  I left off McCourty and Arrington because they have been with the team for a significant amount of time.
  • 2014 - Malcom Butler: entering 2nd year
  • 2013 - Logan Ryan: entering 3rd year
  • 2013 - Duran Harmon: entering 3rd year
  • 2012 - Alfonzo Dennard: entering 4th year
I am also going to add:
  • 2013 - Jamie Collins entering 3rd year
  • 2014 - Hightower entering 4th year
The point I am trying to make is that the pieces in the back seven are mostly going to be players that have been with the team for a while.  Vs. 2011 and 2012 when the likes of Alfonzo Dennard was thrown to the wolves and other guys literally picked up off the street were asked to play significant roles.  We often hear that one of Bill's strength is putting players in the right position to exceed.  I am guessing that having seen a player for 2-3 years in practice and in games would give the coaching staff a much better feel for what they can and cannot do and where they would be successful and when they are set up for failure.
 
I also threw Collins and Hightower in there as well, because there has been an assumption that more pressure or blitzing will help.  I think having experienced linebackers also allows you to be more exotic and creative with how you generate pressure.
 
I don't expect any this to make up for what Revis offered, but I am hedging (or more likely grasping at straws) that having players that are more experienced in the system and more of a known quantity to the coaches will help cushion the blow to the defense.  I'm trying to a make an argument that this group could be greater then the sum of it's parts.
 

wutang112878

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The only issue is that most of the time familiarity is not more important than talent.  Take the 09 LB corps.  In 08 the LBs were Vrabel, Bruschi, Mayo (rookie year) and Adalius (2nd year with us) but they were old.  So Bill moved on from Vrabel and Bruschi retired and the starters the next year were Tully BantaCain (5th year with us after stint in SF), Mayo, Gary Guyton (2nd year with us) and Adalius.  That was Nink's first year here and I forget how much he played, but it was also the year that they resigned Seau half way through the year again.  That LB core was just a group in transition the entire year and ultimately it was a complete team failure that ended the season against Baltimore.  That year Bill knew the personnel he was going to work with during the year and probably knew it wasnt going to be good enough but he did it anyway, so a decent test of your 'have our experienced guys here' theory.  
 
I think when you make massive changes to an offensive line or receiving core or secondary, etc if you dont immediately bring in replacement talent or other areas of your team can make up for it, ultimately its a least a 1 year transition year where that group/core can really struggle.
 

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T&A
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All fair points.  But in a vacuum if forced to choose between a defensive backfield full of rookies and street free agents new to the team vs. one full of guys who while they may be lacking in raw talent/skills have been with the program for 2-3 years, I think must would choose the latter.  I agree there will be a transition this year and the defense will need to play different then in 2014, but I am holding out hope that this group can outperform the truly craptastic Pats pass defenses of yesteryear.  I
 

bakahump

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I'll go on record and say the draft a CB with the 32 (or whatever they trade it for).
 
Laken Tomlinson at 64
 
Then pick up a VW "replacement" with the the next pick (lots of interesting big guys could still be available.)