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  1. #1
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    Bye Week - Sneak peak into the offseason

    Being it's a bye week and there isn't much to talk about relating to the Patriots without knowing who our next opponent is...I started looking into the Patriots offseason and what they may try and do.

    I think as far as new players coming in, you won't see too many - rookies or Free Agents. Of course that all starts with who we are able to bring back from our own Free Agent list, which is quite lengthy.

    Free Agents
    S-McCourty
    S-Chung
    NT-Siliga
    DT-Branch
    DE-Ayers
    LB-Casillas
    LB-White
    LB-Morris
    G-Connolly
    K-Gostkowski
    RB-Bolden
    FB-Develin
    WR-Tyms
    LS-Aiken
    RB-Ridley
    RB-Vereen
    TE-Maneri

    As of now we are at about $141 mil for committed salaries in 2015. Once we resign Revis to a new deal we can knock his cap charge down from $25 mil to about $12 saving us $13mil. Mayo’s contract will need to be reworked or he will be cut which should free up about $4.6 mil. Solder’s deal will be extended at a lesser cap charge than his current $7.5 hit. I figure we can save about $2 mil off that cap charge. Next we cut Wendell and Hooman who save a combined $2.4 mil. With these maneuvers and leaving enough room to sign Rookies/mid season moves…We should have about $14 mil to bring back the rest of our guys as follows

    (I don’t want to get into contract specifics but these are guestimated cap charges for 2015).

    S-McCourty ($6 mil cap charge) – Absolute must sign
    S-Chung ($1 mil cap charge) – Really want him back, but won’t over pay. Solid player.
    NT-Siliga ($1.5 mil cap charge) – Need to bring him back if we’re losing Branch
    DE-Ayers ($1.2 mil cap charge) – Really want him back, love his versatility, hopefully he takes a discount to come back here
    LB-Casillas ($.75 mil cap charge) – Like his ST play and ability to start if needed
    RB-Bolden ($.75 mil cap charge) – Beast of a STer and can fill in incase of injury at RB
    FB-Develin ($.75 mil cap charge) – Great complimentary piece to this offense
    WR-Tyms ($.5 mil cap charge) – Really want to see him here for a full season
    LS-Aiken ($.75 mil cap charge) – Not tied to him but he’s solid. Could find a UDFA.

    Free Agents
    G – If we can’t make room to bring back Connolly.

    Departing Players
    DT-Branch – Would love him back but he will be pricy. We won’t have the cap space.
    LB-White – Good Special teamer but it came down to White v. Casillas and Casillas provides more.
    LB-Morris – No need.
    G-Connolly – I’d like to bring him back, but I think someone will offer far more.
    K-Gostkowski – Just getting too expensive. Can’t be paying a Kicker $4 mil. Even if he’s top 3.
    RB-Ridley – Just won’t have the money to spend on an inconsistent player
    RB-Vereen– Just won’t have the money to spend on an inconsistent player
    TE-Maneri – No need.

    Draft Picks
    Top Needs: OG, DT, RB, Blocking TE

    Round 1 #32 – Best O linemen available to play G
    Round 2 #64 – Best DT available
    Round 3 #96 – Best RB available (workhorse type to replace Ridley)
    Round 4 #97 – Pick from TB – Blocking TE
    Round 4 #128 – Kicker
    Round 6 #161 – WR to push Boyce/Dobson/Tyms
    Round 6 #192 – G for camp competition/Practice Squad
    Round 7 #194 – Pick from Ten – CB for camp competition/Practice Squad
    Round 7 #224 – Mr. Irrelevant – DE for camp competition/Practice Squad

    Offense
    QB (2) – Brady, Garrapollo
    RB (4) – Blount, Rookie (3), White, Bolden
    FB (1) – Develin
    TE (3) – Gronkowski, Wright, Rookie (4)
    WR (6) – Edelman, LaFell, Amendola, Tyms, Dobson, Slater
    OT (4) – Solder, Vollmer, Cannon, Fleming
    OG (4) – Rookie (1), Connolly/vet, Kline, Devey
    C (1) – Stork

    Defense
    NT (2) – Wilfork, Siliga
    DT (3) – Easley, Jones, Rookie (2)
    DE/OLB (5) – Jones, Ninkovich, Ayers, Buchanon, Moore
    LB (5) – Mayo, Hightower, Collins, Casillas, Fleming
    CB (6) – Revis, Browner, Arrington, Ryan, Dennard, Butler
    FS (2) – McCourty, Ebner
    SS (2) – Chung, Harmon

    Special Teams
    K (1) – Rookie (4)
    P (1) – Allen
    LS (1) – Aiken

    Totals
    O – 25
    D – 25
    ST – 3

    Should be a solid team if we can get everyone back here. If we do go this route of retaining our own, don’t expect any Free Agent signings of significance. Although I wouldn’t rule out trades to deal with some of the other guys with higher cap figures or underperforming (Dobson, Amendola, Wilson, Solder etc…)

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  2. #2
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    Nice thread.

    We should get a 3rd and a late round comp pick as well. Unfortunately we'll need to draft another wideout. Picking them in 2013 and 2015 when 2014 looks like the motherload for WR talent. Amendola is gone and you can't rely on Dobson to be that #3 guy. I think Dobson is a near lock as a cheap option with upside to make the roster unless the team really becomes done with him.

    Mike Loyko @NEPD_Loyko · 5h

    A Michael Lombardi favorite RT @caplannfl: #Patriots signed RB Dion Lewis to a reserve/future contract.
    Mike Loyko @NEPD_Loyko · 4h

    #Patriots signed RB Dion Lewis, LB Rufus Johnson, and DT Antonio Johnson to reserve/futures contracts for next season and off-season.
    (2/1/2015)



    Thank you for a magical year!


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    Top two rounds and if the talent warrants it, I'd like to see a stout DT and another pass rusher. Buchanan may be able to fill that rushing spot...I was hoping to see him play more this year. If he comes back strong then I'm down for the O-line upgrade. Don't forget they have Tyler Gaffney on IR...that move might turn into another Ballard thing but it might pay off. He's big but his style and skill set makes him look like he can fill a third down role so Vereen might not be back.

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    Without looking into specifics of draft eligible players, upcoming FA's etc, I would go first and foremost to the O-line. Sure it would be great to get a pass rusher to go with Chandler Jones or someone who can rush from the DT spot (Hopefully Easily becomes this), but Tom Brady needs to be protected, the more time he has it allows for our so-so WR's to get seperation and open up the play calling just a bit, also it would ease the running game. I dont know who's available, or where the value is in this draft and free agency but in a ideal world we beef up the offensive line.

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    Overthecap has us at $142 million in committed cap money for next year. The cap is projected to be between $138.6-$141.2 million next year. That's according to owners though. Players Association projects it to be higher. To be conservative I'll assume the low end of that spectrum.

    Jonathan Kraft said earlier that after incentives he expects to have like $1.5 mil of cap space. That can be rolled over into next year so I'll raise our cap demo $138.6 to $140.1. We also could get some cap relief from Hernandez ($3.5 mil, I believe) but for the sake of being conservative again, I won't include that.

    So if we're at $142 mil in salary that means we're $1.9 mil over the cap to start. These are the moves I would make…

    1) Cut Nate Solder. His level of play simply doesn't warrant a $7.4 mil cap hit. Not when we have so many players to re-sign across the roster. We can get poor play out of someone cheaper. Cannon is already not he roster. Not saying Cannon is great but realistically how much of a drop off is he from Solder? Solder's been poor enough this year that I think it's negligible. Plus the OT class is supposedly deep. I say cut Solder, use the money elsewhere and move up in the first round for an OT that can compete with Cannon for the starting job and hopefully beat him out. Saving $7.4 mil takes us from $1.9 mil over the cap to $5.5 mil under it.

    2.) Extend Revis. Right now he's scheduled for a $25 mil cap hit. $5 mil of that is unamortized signing bonus he got paid this year so it's one the books no matter what. But the rest of it can be torn up if a new long term deal is worked out. The top of the CB market is $14 mil/year. And nearly all contracts are backloaded. So you could do a top of the market extension for Revis and lower his negotiable cap hit from $20 mil to like $12 mil. That saves $8 mil and brings us up to $13.5 mil of cap space.

    3.) Release Amendola, Hooman. Amendola is a backup slot receiver and average returner. You can fill that role cheaper. Cutting him saves $2.1 mil initially after factoring in a dead money charge of $3.6 mil. On June 1st though, we can push half of that dead money into the 2016 season and save an additional $1.8 mil. (Instead of half, it might be the non-current-year portion of the dead money. The current portion of it is $1.2 mil though so if that's the rule it would give us an extra $600K in cap space. I'll be conservative again and go with half.) Hooman is a blocking TE that doesn't really block that well. He can be upgraded for similar money in FA or with a draft pick. Cutting him saves $1.2 mi. So $2.1 mil + the additional $1.8 mil + $1.2 mil = $5.8 mil. That brings us up to $19.3 mil of cap space.

    4.) Franchise tag Devin McCourty. Our defense is fueled by elite secondary play. Bringing Revis is step 1 to keeping that in tact and keeping McCourty is step 2. The tag number for a safety is about $7 mil I believe. It would be better to work out an extension where you can structure it to manage the cap hit but again, I'm being conservative. A $7 mil cap hit would reduce our cap space to $12.3 mil.

    5.) Restructure the base salaries and roster bonuses of Wilfork and Browner into signing bonus. Doing this for Wilfork saves about $3.6 mil and for Browner it saves about $2.4 mil. It does push signing bonus into next year but both players are still easy to cut if need be so it doesn't hurt future flexibility too bad. The extra $6 mil of cap space is a huge help for next year though and with a closing window for Brady I think it's worth it. This would bring us up to $18.3 mil of cap space.

    6.) Cut Jerod Mayo. This one hurt to say because he's an awesome player and a great guy but you just can't keep him IMO. Hightower and Collins are just better player at this point and with how much nickel we play a 3rd LB just isn't that important or worth spending a lot on. Making Mayo a post June 1st cut saves a whopping $7.6 mil using the half rule I described in the write up for Amendola. The way Mayo's deal is structured though the current year rule would cause us to save $600K less. To be conservative again I'll use the rule that provides the least savings and say cutting him saves $7 mil, bringing our available cap space up to $25.3 mil.

    7.) Tender Siliga at the 2nd round level. This costs $2 mil. No one is going to give up a 2nd rounder for Siliga so this ensures he'll be back in the middle for us next year. It reduces our cap space to $23.3 mil.

    8.) Tender the Exclusive Rights FAs - Greg Orton, James Morris, Tyms, Develin, Boyce. Brings back depth for training camp at a cheap price. All together these guys cost like $2.8 mil. Lowers cap space to $20.5 million.

    Those are all the moves I make involving players already under contract and tender offers. That just leaves unrestricted free agency and the draft. I wouldn't really focus on signing outside free agents at all though. Maybe cheap depth guys but I think the best options are to re-sign the guys we already have. I would do the following with the remaining cap space…

    1.) Re-sign Gostowski. Having a reliable kicker is just so important in big games. They can structure a deal to keep his cap hit down.

    2.) Re-sign one of Vereen/Ayers. I would love both back but using the conservative cap estimates I did creates some number crunches. I think some of us had higher expectations for Vereen this year but he's still a quality player. A receiving back like him is valuable. Ayers has given us pass rush depth, which we haven't had in a looooong while. Jones has had some issues with injuries and Ninkovich is getting older. I think there would only be room under the cap for one of these 2 so pick one and replace the other in the draft. If James White had shown something at RB that would have made it an easier choice but not playing much in the finale wasn't a great sign for that. You never know what happens in practice though.

    3.) Re-sign Connolly and Cassillas. Neither is great but both should be affordable and give us continuity/depth if nothing else. Ideally you would find an upgrade over Connolly at LG and over Cassillas at the 3rd LB spot but both are fall back options. Cameron Fleming might even be the answer at LG though.

    4.) Let Chung and Branch walk. This is where the number crunch came in. I think he's been great but I credit the system for a lot of it. He gets to play to his strengths. I think if Tavon Wilson were thrust into the starting role he could see a jump in his play similar to the one Chung did this year. He has the same types of strengths as a player and to be honest might be a little more fluid in coverage. Ideal world, you bring Ching back on an affordable deal but this might be where you have to make sacrifices.

    I think you can fit those moves in under the cap and have enough money left over for the draft and in-season moves. Entering the draft you have the following needs…

    1.) Starting LT
    2.) 3rd DE or receiving RB, depending on Vereen/Ayers decision (James White be the answer at RB, Zach Moore/Michael Buchanan at DE)
    3.) 3rd WR that can stretch the field
    4.) Blocking TE
    5.) S depth/insurance for Tavon Wilson
    6.) Interior OL depth (could be Cameron Fleming)
    7.) LB depth
    8.) DT depth (if Easley makes year 2 leap then you could be set here with him, Wilfork, Siliga and Chris Jones)

    Again, not that I used a conservative cap estimate and assumed no cap relief for Hernandez. The cap will in all likelihood be a couple million higher than what I projected AT LEAST. That money can go towards lessening the amount of draft needs. Then you can target specific player for the specific holes.


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    Yeah, I don't expect to see Mayo/Chung/dola on this team next season

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    ^Only issue with your projection- Why would we want to go into next season with the same starting crappy interior line? Specifically the Guards. Connolly really isn't good at all and neither is Wendell. Solder has sucked this year but I've got more confidence he can turn it around given what he's been in the past. Both Connolly and Wendell have been below average to bad guards over the last 2 years. Neither should be starting next year if we hope to have a competent O-Line.
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    That's sorted so it's worst is first....

    So Connolly has been the worst Guard in the league this year with enough qualified snaps. His 13 QB hits allowed lead the league. So yeah, he hasn't allowed many sacks but he's allowing Brady to get hit a ton. I think we all don't want that....I realize the O-Line has looked even worse without him but that speaks more to our ****** depth than him.

    I have no idea why you want him back HPF? I assume he's going to cost a decent amount since he's a starter and why not just find someone else who can do just as ****** of a job as him? Frankly, it shouldn't be hard to find someone else who can replace the worst pass blocking guard in the league.
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    PS- It's almost laughably sad that he's allowed the most QB hits in the league despite playing almost half as many snaps as some of the other Guards.
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    Although, to be fair, Connolly is one of our better pass blocking guards.....When I removed the snaps filters on PFF's pass blocking stats, here's what the worst guards in the league looked like (again, no minimum snap count):



    So yeah, Connolly has helped the O-Line in the sense that the crap we have besides him is actually somehow worse than the worst pass blocking guard in the league. Good job Guards.

    BTW, for reference, the best pass blocking guard- Josh Sitton on GB, has allowed a total of 10 pressures allowed but in 582 snaps. Orlando Franklin of Denver is 2nd best with 11 pressures allowed in 608 snaps. So yeah, Cannon, Kline and Devey have allowed as many pressures as Sitton in 1/5 the amount of snaps...
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    Wendell for what it's worth is about average- he's 30th out of 59 pass blocking guards with 50% of teams snaps played. I suppose not that bad if you weren't complimenting him with crap.
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    Looking at these numbers, I'm not sure if anyone on the roster is the answer at LG. Connolly has looked better than he really is because his replacements have been so bad. But if we compare these guys to the rest of the league- they're all terrible, which is why I think some have grown accustomed to thinking Connolly isn't that bad.

    Now of course, a lot of these guys are decent in run blocking- especially Flemming I think. But if none of them can pass block, what's the point? Especially if we know that Brady's vulnerable to pressure up the middle (which he is, moreso than most other QBs).
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    Quote Originally Posted by hugepatsfan View Post
    1) Cut Nate Solder. His level of play simply doesn't warrant a $7.4 mil cap hit. Not when we have so many players to re-sign across the roster. We can get poor play out of someone cheaper. Cannon is already not he roster. Not saying Cannon is great but realistically how much of a drop off is he from Solder? Solder's been poor enough this year that I think it's negligible. Plus the OT class is supposedly deep. I say cut Solder, use the money elsewhere and move up in the first round for an OT that can compete with Cannon for the starting job and hopefully beat him out. Saving $7.4 mil takes us from $1.9 mil over the cap to $5.5 mil under it.

    6.) Cut Jerod Mayo. This one hurt to say because he's an awesome player and a great guy but you just can't keep him IMO. Hightower and Collins are just better player at this point and with how much nickel we play a 3rd LB just isn't that important or worth spending a lot on. Making Mayo a post June 1st cut saves a whopping $7.6 mil using the half rule I described in the write up for Amendola. The way Mayo's deal is structured though the current year rule would cause us to save $600K less. To be conservative again I'll use the rule that provides the least savings and say cutting him saves $7 mil, bringing our available cap space up to $25.3 mil.

    2.) Re-sign one of Vereen/Ayers. I would love both back but using the conservative cap estimates I did creates some number crunches. I think some of us had higher expectations for Vereen this year but he's still a quality player. A receiving back like him is valuable. Ayers has given us pass rush depth, which we haven't had in a looooong while. Jones has had some issues with injuries and Ninkovich is getting older. I think there would only be room under the cap for one of these 2 so pick one and replace the other in the draft. If James White had shown something at RB that would have made it an easier choice but not playing much in the finale wasn't a great sign for that. You never know what happens in practice though.

    I think you can fit those moves in under the cap and have enough money left over for the draft and in-season moves. Entering the draft you have the following needs…

    1.) Starting LT
    2.) 3rd DE or receiving RB, depending on Vereen/Ayers decision (James White be the answer at RB, Zach Moore/Michael Buchanan at DE)
    3.) 3rd WR that can stretch the field
    4.) Blocking TE
    5.) S depth/insurance for Tavon Wilson
    6.) Interior OL depth (could be Cameron Fleming)
    7.) LB depth
    8.) DT depth (if Easley makes year 2 leap then you could be set here with him, Wilfork, Siliga and Chris Jones)

    Again, not that I used a conservative cap estimate and assumed no cap relief for Hernandez. The cap will in all likelihood be a couple million higher than what I projected AT LEAST. That money can go towards lessening the amount of draft needs. Then you can target specific player for the specific holes.
    Some thoughts:

    1. The drop-off from Solder to Cannon is gigantic right now. Solder has had a disappointing season, but when Cannon replaced him in the Buffalo game last weekend we could have thrown in a cardboard cutout of Matt Light and seen similar production. The combination of Cannon and Kline is absolutely terrifying... the fact that we extended Cannon must mean that he's showing promise, but it's not showing on the field and I still think that he'd be much better suited to play guard.

    I'm not necessarily saying they have to keep Solder; he plays one of the most important positions on the team and could certainly be upgraded. But if they do get rid of him, they'll need an immediate replacement. I don't think that Bill will be able to draft a tackle that he trusts enough to start at LT as a rookie. We drafted Solder with the 17th pick in the first round but used him in rotation with Vollmer for most of his rookie year even though Matt Light's play in his final year was just as questionable as Solder's this year.

    2. I think whether or not Mayo is back depends entirely on how his recovery goes. He's a leader on the team, one of the best linebackers the team has had, and will only be 29 next season. Next year the dead money from cutting him would be $6,000,000, in 2016 it will fall to $2,400,000. I don't really know what the limitations are on restructures, but I wouldn't be shocked to find that he's the kind of guy who'd be willing to move some money around to make his salary more team-friendly.

    The main reason I want to keep Mayo is for the pass-rush. As you said, Jones has had injury issues (probably mostly from overuse, much like Mayo) and Ninkovich is getting older. Early in the season, while Mayo was still playing, Hightower seemed to get a lot of snaps at defensive end opposite Jones. He seemed really good at it; he's strong, good at rushing the QB, and even if he's not incredible in coverage he's undeniably less of a liability than Nink is dropping back. With Mayo playing inside linebacker, Hightower and Collins would both have more opportunities to make plays on the ball and rush the passer.

    3. I think that interior offensive line should be waaaaaay higher on that prioritized list. Dan Connolly is probably the best offensive lineman on this team; that's worrisome enough on its own, but when you factor in that he'll be 33 next season and that his backup is Josh Kline, the situation looks pretty dire. The Solder/Connolly/Stork/Wendell/Vollmer line had a stretch where it was okay, but I'm not sure that any of those guys other than Stork are long-term solutions. Connolly is old, Wendell is in his prime but has never been all that great, Solder has struggled this season, Sebastian Vollmer is 6'8" with back problems.

    Fleming could be being groomed to step in next year. Same could be said for Cannon and Kline, although their performance this season has been so abysmal that I can't imagine them being ready to start. Regardless where they come from, the team could probably use an immediate upgrade over Wendell and a replacement for Connolly, who probably won't play at his current level for much longer. Hell, maybe once the interior can hold itself together Solder will be able to return to form.

    My draft priorities:
    1) Guard- Connolly is old, Wendell isn't anything special, and the backups have been trash.
    2) Wide Receiver- Edelman and LaFell are good. I think that Dobson sticks around for at least one year, but he's still a total question mark right now. Amendola is gone, and I don't think Tyms/Boyce is ever going to be a key contributor.
    3) ILB- If Mayo isn't here next year, the team will really need someone better than Casillas to play with Hightower/Collins. If Mayo is here, they still should be grooming someone to take his place considering his injury history and high salary.
    4) Tackle- I think that Solder and Vollmer both start next year, but neither is completely safe. A good rookie tackle could replace Cannon in the Solder/Vollmer/Cannon rotation they used at tackle this year, and could also step into replace Solder (if he continues to struggle) or Vollmer (who is liable to crumble into dust at any moment).
    5) DE/OLB- There are a lot of people on the team who could potentially fill this role- Hightower and Collins have both had success rushing from outside, Easley played some DE while Jones was out, Buchanon and Moore are both projects who could pan out. Still, it's an obvious need that needs to be filled.
    6) Safety- McCourty is great. Chung has performed above my expectations, and Wilson did well against Buffalo last week, but it's still one of the weaker positional groups on the defense.

    I don't really see the need for a blocking tight end. They could certainly use a 3rd TE given Gronk's injury history, but Wright could be a solid receiving TE after an off-season with the team and the Pats have had success using OL like Cameron Fleming as a TE in certain packages. They can probably find someone better than Hooman for next season, but I don't see them using any high picks on TEs unless they really love one of the guys on the board.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hugepatsfan View Post
    Overthecap has us at $142 million in committed cap money for next year. The cap is projected to be between $138.6-$141.2 million next year. That's according to owners though. Players Association projects it to be higher. To be conservative I'll assume the low end of that spectrum.

    Jonathan Kraft said earlier that after incentives he expects to have like $1.5 mil of cap space. That can be rolled over into next year so I'll raise our cap demo $138.6 to $140.1. We also could get some cap relief from Hernandez ($3.5 mil, I believe) but for the sake of being conservative again, I won't include that.

    So if we're at $142 mil in salary that means we're $1.9 mil over the cap to start. These are the moves I would make…

    1) Cut Nate Solder. His level of play simply doesn't warrant a $7.4 mil cap hit. Not when we have so many players to re-sign across the roster. We can get poor play out of someone cheaper. Cannon is already not he roster. Not saying Cannon is great but realistically how much of a drop off is he from Solder? Solder's been poor enough this year that I think it's negligible. Plus the OT class is supposedly deep. I say cut Solder, use the money elsewhere and move up in the first round for an OT that can compete with Cannon for the starting job and hopefully beat him out. Saving $7.4 mil takes us from $1.9 mil over the cap to $5.5 mil under it.

    2.) Extend Revis. Right now he's scheduled for a $25 mil cap hit. $5 mil of that is unamortized signing bonus he got paid this year so it's one the books no matter what. But the rest of it can be torn up if a new long term deal is worked out. The top of the CB market is $14 mil/year. And nearly all contracts are backloaded. So you could do a top of the market extension for Revis and lower his negotiable cap hit from $20 mil to like $12 mil. That saves $8 mil and brings us up to $13.5 mil of cap space.

    3.) Release Amendola, Hooman. Amendola is a backup slot receiver and average returner. You can fill that role cheaper. Cutting him saves $2.1 mil initially after factoring in a dead money charge of $3.6 mil. On June 1st though, we can push half of that dead money into the 2016 season and save an additional $1.8 mil. (Instead of half, it might be the non-current-year portion of the dead money. The current portion of it is $1.2 mil though so if that's the rule it would give us an extra $600K in cap space. I'll be conservative again and go with half.) Hooman is a blocking TE that doesn't really block that well. He can be upgraded for similar money in FA or with a draft pick. Cutting him saves $1.2 mi. So $2.1 mil + the additional $1.8 mil + $1.2 mil = $5.8 mil. That brings us up to $19.3 mil of cap space.

    4.) Franchise tag Devin McCourty. Our defense is fueled by elite secondary play. Bringing Revis is step 1 to keeping that in tact and keeping McCourty is step 2. The tag number for a safety is about $7 mil I believe. It would be better to work out an extension where you can structure it to manage the cap hit but again, I'm being conservative. A $7 mil cap hit would reduce our cap space to $12.3 mil.

    5.) Restructure the base salaries and roster bonuses of Wilfork and Browner into signing bonus. Doing this for Wilfork saves about $3.6 mil and for Browner it saves about $2.4 mil. It does push signing bonus into next year but both players are still easy to cut if need be so it doesn't hurt future flexibility too bad. The extra $6 mil of cap space is a huge help for next year though and with a closing window for Brady I think it's worth it. This would bring us up to $18.3 mil of cap space.

    6.) Cut Jerod Mayo. This one hurt to say because he's an awesome player and a great guy but you just can't keep him IMO. Hightower and Collins are just better player at this point and with how much nickel we play a 3rd LB just isn't that important or worth spending a lot on. Making Mayo a post June 1st cut saves a whopping $7.6 mil using the half rule I described in the write up for Amendola. The way Mayo's deal is structured though the current year rule would cause us to save $600K less. To be conservative again I'll use the rule that provides the least savings and say cutting him saves $7 mil, bringing our available cap space up to $25.3 mil.

    7.) Tender Siliga at the 2nd round level. This costs $2 mil. No one is going to give up a 2nd rounder for Siliga so this ensures he'll be back in the middle for us next year. It reduces our cap space to $23.3 mil.

    8.) Tender the Exclusive Rights FAs - Greg Orton, James Morris, Tyms, Develin, Boyce. Brings back depth for training camp at a cheap price. All together these guys cost like $2.8 mil. Lowers cap space to $20.5 million.

    Those are all the moves I make involving players already under contract and tender offers. That just leaves unrestricted free agency and the draft. I wouldn't really focus on signing outside free agents at all though. Maybe cheap depth guys but I think the best options are to re-sign the guys we already have. I would do the following with the remaining cap space…

    1.) Re-sign Gostowski. Having a reliable kicker is just so important in big games. They can structure a deal to keep his cap hit down.

    2.) Re-sign one of Vereen/Ayers. I would love both back but using the conservative cap estimates I did creates some number crunches. I think some of us had higher expectations for Vereen this year but he's still a quality player. A receiving back like him is valuable. Ayers has given us pass rush depth, which we haven't had in a looooong while. Jones has had some issues with injuries and Ninkovich is getting older. I think there would only be room under the cap for one of these 2 so pick one and replace the other in the draft. If James White had shown something at RB that would have made it an easier choice but not playing much in the finale wasn't a great sign for that. You never know what happens in practice though.

    3.) Re-sign Connolly and Cassillas. Neither is great but both should be affordable and give us continuity/depth if nothing else. Ideally you would find an upgrade over Connolly at LG and over Cassillas at the 3rd LB spot but both are fall back options. Cameron Fleming might even be the answer at LG though.

    4.) Let Chung and Branch walk. This is where the number crunch came in. I think he's been great but I credit the system for a lot of it. He gets to play to his strengths. I think if Tavon Wilson were thrust into the starting role he could see a jump in his play similar to the one Chung did this year. He has the same types of strengths as a player and to be honest might be a little more fluid in coverage. Ideal world, you bring Ching back on an affordable deal but this might be where you have to make sacrifices.

    I think you can fit those moves in under the cap and have enough money left over for the draft and in-season moves. Entering the draft you have the following needs…

    1.) Starting LT
    2.) 3rd DE or receiving RB, depending on Vereen/Ayers decision (James White be the answer at RB, Zach Moore/Michael Buchanan at DE)
    3.) 3rd WR that can stretch the field
    4.) Blocking TE
    5.) S depth/insurance for Tavon Wilson
    6.) Interior OL depth (could be Cameron Fleming)
    7.) LB depth
    8.) DT depth (if Easley makes year 2 leap then you could be set here with him, Wilfork, Siliga and Chris Jones)

    Again, not that I used a conservative cap estimate and assumed no cap relief for Hernandez. The cap will in all likelihood be a couple million higher than what I projected AT LEAST. That money can go towards lessening the amount of draft needs. Then you can target specific player for the specific holes.
    I like almost all of this except some questionable O-line moves. I get on Solder a lot, but with this plan the O-line looks pretty rough. Rookie LT with pick 32-Connolly-Stork-Wendell-Vollmer? Connolly and Wendell aren't going to be developing any further, Fleming could steal the LG spot can we really trust a LT at pick 32 to be able to handle the Brady's blindside when he won't have much help next to him?

    They already picked up Solder's option, so we might as well keep him on the roster at least temporarily 7M isn't TERRIBLE. I'm not sure if there's a deadline we have to cut him by to save money, but I'll assume there's not. I would defiantly draft a tackle early who might be a bit raw or is injured so we can groom him to be the 2016 starter. But for right now I think we need Solder on the roster unless there's an immediate upgrade available.

    One of Connolly or Wendell defitantly needs to be replaced. They might be cheap but a rookie would be even cheaper and provide at worst the same production. No interest in resigning them.

    Regardless whether it's FA or the draft we need to upgrade the guard position and prepare a LT for 2016 latest.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatsSoxKnicks View Post
    Looking at these numbers, I'm not sure if anyone on the roster is the answer at LG. Connolly has looked better than he really is because his replacements have been so bad. But if we compare these guys to the rest of the league- they're all terrible, which is why I think some have grown accustomed to thinking Connolly isn't that bad.

    Now of course, a lot of these guys are decent in run blocking- especially Flemming I think. But if none of them can pass block, what's the point? Especially if we know that Brady's vulnerable to pressure up the middle (which he is, moreso than most other QBs).
    I remember even in the preseason a lot of these backup OL's still looked bad despite inferior competition. Devey and Kline are especially useless.

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