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  1. #1
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    Official Off-Season Thread

    Rough ending but the road back starts now. First matter of business is replacing the coordinators. Sounds like Schiano will join the staff either as DC or an assistant HC type of role. On offense there were rumors McDaniels might end up staying but we'll see.

    Draft pick wise we have our own 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th rounders plus the SF 2nd. And then I believe we are expecting some comp picks for the guys we let go last year even with our big signing in Gilmore (Logan Ryan, Sheard, Chris Long, Legarrette Blount, Martellus Bennet, Jabaal Sheard).

    Free agent wise, Nate Solder, Malcolm Butler, Dion Lewis, Marquise Flowers, Johnson Bademosi, Matthew Slater, Danny Amendola, Rex Burkhead, Cam Fleming, L'Adrian Waddle, Nate Ebner, Jame Harrison, Brandon King, Brandon Bolden and Ricky Jean-Francois are all scheduled to hit the open market.

    Injury wise Mitchell should be back next year after seemingly be close to end this year. Edleman should return though he probably won't be his full self until later in the season, if not the following year (that's how ACLs usually go). Hightower should be back to full strength as well. So those will be good boosts to the receiver depth and the front 7.

    Cap management wise I used the following link: https://overthecap.com/calculator/new-england-patriots/

    They have us starting at about $14M in cap room for next year. I'd expect Martellus Bennett, Dewayne Allen, Alan Branch, Shea McClellin, David Harris, Mike Gilislee to be cut and that gets us up to about $34M in cap room. Could maybe try to bring Allen and McClellin back at reduced prices.

    McCourty, Gronk, Cooks are candidates for extensions/restructures that reduce their cap numbers. Brady potentially as well but sounds like that could be a contentious situation to monitor.

    Gostowski could be a surprise cut or maybe they extend him to reduce his cap number. It would save $3.5M to cut him.

    Doresett/Britt could be cut to save about $2.5M total but I'd expect them back in camp for WR competition.

    Should be a pretty active offseason, even aside from the Brady/BB/Kraft stuff that will be sure to dominate headlines. A lot of room to add pieces but also a lot of guys that could be allowed to walk or get released. So could see a fair amount of turnover. I think the priorities are (not necessarily in order):

    1) lock down the LT situation
    2) improve the front 7 overall talent level/depth
    3) figure out a group of CBs that compliment each other well (who plays outside vs. the slot, man vs. zone strengths, etc.)
    4) fill out the RB depth chart around White either by re-signing guys or adding new, capable players
    5) add a developmental QB if there's one they like


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  2. #2
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    I wouldn't count on Bennett being cut as there are rumors about a Gronk retirement
    Re-sign Lewis draft a qb then leave the offense alone
    On defense Hightower will be back which will help but there's a lot of work to do

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by burtgummer View Post
    I wouldn't count on Bennett being cut as there are rumors about a Gronk retirement
    Re-sign Lewis draft a qb then leave the offense alone
    On defense Hightower will be back which will help but there's a lot of work to do
    Cutting Bennett would save the team $6.2M with no dead money. I should have added him to the group of guys that could be brought back at a lower cap number. I can't fathom any scenario where he's back at his current contract number though (not to mention he discussed retirement himself). Same with Allen who can be cut to save $5M with no dead money. I could see us wanting them back at lower numbers for depth or starting options should Gronk actually retire (I'm skeptical he's serious about that).


    NE Patriots Forum HOF (Class of 2011)

  4. #4
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    I'm not on the Bennett bandwagon, I think Solder did enough to get an extension. The dline needs an overhaul, linebackers depth needs work. Regardless of what happens with gronk they need an outside receiver with size and usable he next to him if he plays (Allen was very good at blocking car do anything else). I think lewis is going to be out of our price range.

  5. #5
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    The Gronk stuff was said after a very bad loss added to all his injury woes so it does not surprise me to hear him thinking about it.The defense is a real need I am sure there are going to be a lot of moves but the obvious cuts are Allen Branch and David Harris with Branch's role being the needed to be filled most.Tight end is a position that needs to be restocked as we saw when Gronk went down and I am not so sure Marty is up for it.It should indeed be a very busy off season!

  6. #6
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    Gronks not retiring... I understand why the media is running with the story line but its really a non story IMO.

    Gronk wants more money if he's going to continue to play into his 30's. My belief is that Gronk and his camp made that clear after last season back surgery (hence the restructure based on PT and performance) and I believe we will see yet another restructure enabling Gronk to earn his $$ again next season.
    2015/2017 Superbowl Champs

  7. #7
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    The Pats have a lot of holes I think need to be filled.

    LB's seem to be the biggest glaring hole. Our linebackers blow except for Hightower, but how reliable is he really.

    Front 7 needs some upgrades and a better pass rush.

    A replacement for Gronk needs to be found in the draft soon. A new QB prospect too.

    Passing game was overall fine this year, but it might make sense to start looking for the next slot guy in the draft to replace Edelman.

    Can we finally give Gostkowski some comeptiton in camp?

    [CENTER]Celts, Sox, Pats, Bruins


  8. #8
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    I'd rather Hightower play the James Harrison role. Set the edge, provide a pass rush. If we can go him opposite Flowers and then Wise rotating behind them I think our outside pass rush will be fine. And then Derek Rovers hopefully coming back strong in year 2 off injury to live up to his 3rd round status. Try and get a low cost guy to add a little more depth but if we use Hightower here I think we should be good with what we have as opposed to going outside the organization. If Hightower isn't playing DE though then we need someone obviously.

    Van Noy is good at one LB spot... need to get a stud at the other. Flowers played well IMO and would be good depth to bring back but not as a starter. Roberts I like but he just doesn't fit today's NFL. I wouldn't mind going for an established FA here if there's a guy BB likes. Just a quick google search had Nigel Bradham from Philly as the top FA here who thrives in coverage. We need to get a good coverage guy here though (part of why I want to move Hightower to DE), even if it requires BB to go smaller than he likes at LB.

    At DT I thought Brown came on strong as the season went on but he's more of a run stopper. Guy and Butler are fine situational guys. Need to try and land one more stud to provide an inside rush. Valentine is coming back and I like him but I think we need more of a pass rush than he provides because we already have Brown to be the run stuffer. He'll be great depth behind Brown but if we add a DT like I want then look for Valentine to be gameday inactive.

    Ultimately it comes down to the cost of FAs and how BB views the draft board but I'm hoping that between the draft and FA we get day 1 starters at LB and DT. Sign one draft the other, draft both, sign both. Whatever. But I think we need to add talent there.

    Butler should be allowed to walk because he doesn't jive with the coverage schemes Gilmore thrives in. I'm fine with Rowe starting opposite Gilmore. I think he'll breakout if given a chance to start the year and he stays healthy. He fits that type of coverage. Now, there were Sherman talks last year. And rumors this year are Talib will be cut by DEN. I think either one of them would be a "splurge" addition worth pursuing because it would give you a dominant due that you can build a defense around. But short of an elite addition like that I think Gilmore/Rowe will be fine and excel. We absolutely need to get better in the slot though. Cyrus Jones is coming back to maybe be a solution but that's not even close to a given.

    Big picture, the team made the decision to stick with Brady so I think we need some urgency in how we build around him. Jimmy G is gone and we should look to add a developmental backup to hopefully be ready to take over but we need to start prioritizing short term IMO. And that might mean being a little more short-sighted in how they structure/restructure contracts so they can fit in more talent for Brady's last few seasons.


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  9. #9
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    ^ Just one quick added note to above. I said we need another DT. If they wanted to use Flowers inside more than they did this past year as he was used in 2016 when we had more DE depth then that can address the inside pass rush. But then you gotta get a DE to make up those snaps outside. But that can work too if they like that combo better.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hugepatsfan View Post
    I'd rather Hightower play the James Harrison role. Set the edge, provide a pass rush. If we can go him opposite Flowers and then Wise rotating behind them I think our outside pass rush will be fine. And then Derek Rovers hopefully coming back strong in year 2 off injury to live up to his 3rd round status. Try and get a low cost guy to add a little more depth but if we use Hightower here I think we should be good with what we have as opposed to going outside the organization. If Hightower isn't playing DE though then we need someone obviously.

    Van Noy is good at one LB spot... need to get a stud at the other. Flowers played well IMO and would be good depth to bring back but not as a starter. Roberts I like but he just doesn't fit today's NFL. I wouldn't mind going for an established FA here if there's a guy BB likes. Just a quick google search had Nigel Bradham from Philly as the top FA here who thrives in coverage. We need to get a good coverage guy here though (part of why I want to move Hightower to DE), even if it requires BB to go smaller than he likes at LB.

    At DT I thought Brown came on strong as the season went on but he's more of a run stopper. Guy and Butler are fine situational guys. Need to try and land one more stud to provide an inside rush. Valentine is coming back and I like him but I think we need more of a pass rush than he provides because we already have Brown to be the run stuffer. He'll be great depth behind Brown but if we add a DT like I want then look for Valentine to be gameday inactive.

    Ultimately it comes down to the cost of FAs and how BB views the draft board but I'm hoping that between the draft and FA we get day 1 starters at LB and DT. Sign one draft the other, draft both, sign both. Whatever. But I think we need to add talent there.

    Butler should be allowed to walk because he doesn't jive with the coverage schemes Gilmore thrives in. I'm fine with Rowe starting opposite Gilmore. I think he'll breakout if given a chance to start the year and he stays healthy. He fits that type of coverage. Now, there were Sherman talks last year. And rumors this year are Talib will be cut by DEN. I think either one of them would be a "splurge" addition worth pursuing because it would give you a dominant due that you can build a defense around. But short of an elite addition like that I think Gilmore/Rowe will be fine and excel. We absolutely need to get better in the slot though. Cyrus Jones is coming back to maybe be a solution but that's not even close to a given.

    Big picture, the team made the decision to stick with Brady so I think we need some urgency in how we build around him. Jimmy G is gone and we should look to add a developmental backup to hopefully be ready to take over but we need to start prioritizing short term IMO. And that might mean being a little more short-sighted in how they structure/restructure contracts so they can fit in more talent for Brady's last few seasons.
    I disagree with your last point. The Pats should be looking longterm, especially now that Jimmy G is gone. They have rarely ever planned for the short-term. THey loaded up in 07 and lost. Loaded up in 2014 and won. They supposedly loaded up this past year, and that quickly fell apart. They really need to hit on this draft big time or they could be in trouble down the road.

    [CENTER]Celts, Sox, Pats, Bruins


  11. #11
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    If you're going to trade away Jimmy G and let Brady hang on for his last few seasons it seems contradictory to me to then not be aggressive in surrounding him with talent. I still think we should look for a QB of the future obviously but what I mean is while maybe in the past you might have given a FA his guarantees in year 1 salary, maybe now to an extent you do it in signing bonus to spread out over three years and preserve a little extra spending room. Maybe in the past you budgeted for guys to hit not likely to be earned incentives but this year you might take that extra cap room now, spend it and then deal with the charge next year if they do hit. Just here and there pick your spots to be a little more aggressive in getting talent around Brady for his last few years.

    Just to quickly sum it up, maybe in the past you focused on putting an 8/10 roster out there each year and maintaining flexibility to do so. With Brady so close to the end and us having committed to it after trading Jimmy G might make sense to trade off some of that 8/10 flexibility in the future to get a 9 or a 9.5/10 over the next few years. And then deal with the 7/10 rosters down the line as the trade off since you don't know if you'll have a QB to capitalize on a great roster anyway.


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  12. #12
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    Some names I'm watching in Free Agency

    Jimmy Graham - Has slowed down and isn't what he once was but is still a threat. Might not be as highly coveted as a FA as he once would have been. If Bennett is cut and retires/doesn't agree to come back at a lower number I could see Graham getting a call and going back to a heavy 2 TE offense.

    Trent Murphy - Should be cheap as he missed last season with a torn ACL/MCL. Typical BB hybrid OLB similar to a McClellin. If the price is right, he could be a steal.

    Nickel Robey-Coleman/Aaron Colvin - Colvin is the better player, but both are solid to very good slot CB's. With Butler leaving and Rowe more suited for the outside I could see BB spending some money to lock down the nickel CB slot.

    Kyle Williams - Old and at the end of the road, not much of a pass rusher anymore but more than solid in stopping the run. Could be a cheap bandaid type guy to replace Alan Branch.

    Anthony Hitchens - Another guy who could help solidify that LB core. He's not great, but solid, has improved each year he's been in the league.

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  13. #13
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    Feb 2010
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    Here's my thoughts on our Free Agents

    Malcolm Butler - I was fairly certain he'd be gone after the season, unless he was willing to take a team friendly deal. After his SB benching, it's a guarantee he won't be back now. Thank you for 4 great years but I think it's best for both sides in moving on here.

    Dion Lewis - I'd like to see him back but I think the price tag will be too high. Great do it all back but won't be worth his next contract. Let him go and bring back Rex.

    Danny Amendola - If he's willing to come back at $2-3 Mil I'd take him back in a heartbeat. I love the guy, but I wouldn't blame him for chasing some coin after the last 4 years. It's his last chance at a nice deal but he won't ever be more than a great back up player here.

    Nate Solder - Another one, "if the price is right". More than likely he's gone. He hasn't been great the past couple injury riddled seasons but he's still serviceable. If he comes back cheap as a short term solution, I'm all for it.

    Mathew Slater - Bring him back. He's a core guy and a leader. Superb STer. He won't break the bank.

    Rex Burkhead - Bring him back. When healthy, he's very good in this offense. I don't think both Lewis and Burkhead will be back, they'll have to pick one. Rex should be cheaper.

    James Harrison - I'd take him back if he's cheap

    Bolden/Fleming/Waddle - Indifferent if any return. They're good end of roster type guys.

    Bademosi/Ebner/Flowers/Grissom - Good special teamer group here. If the price is right I'd take them all back. But none should be playing bigger roles than ST aces.

    Ricky Jean-Francios - Let him walk.

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  14. #14
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    Depth chart heading into the offseason

    QB - Brady, Hoyer - Don't have to add, but should draft our future QB in this draft
    RB - White, Gillislee - Should re-sign 1 (Lewis/Burkhead) and bring in another guy
    FB - Develin
    WR - Cooks, Edelman, Hogan, Mitchell, Dorsett, Britt - Would like to just bring back Dola and Slater.
    TE - Gronk, Bennett, Allen, Hollister - Allen probably gets cut, Bennett hopefully back at reduced number
    OT - Cannon, Garcia, Croston, Jelks - This needs some attention
    OG - Mason, Thuney - Solid here
    OC - Andrews

    DL - Flowers, Guy, Brown, Branch, Valentine, Grissom, Wise, Lee, Butler, Davis - I'd like to cut Branch and add a veteran Free Agent. Rest of the group is pretty solid here
    LB - Hightower, Van Noy, Rivers, Roberts, Harris, McClellin, Grigsby, Langi - Cut Harris and McClellin, the rest are pretty good. I'd like a FA added to the mix.
    DB - Gilmore, McCourty, Chung, Harmon, Rowe, Richards, Jones, Jones - PLEASE cut Richards. I'm ok with Rowe starting as long as its on the outside. I like Jones as the 4th. Need to add a solid nickel CB to this group.

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  15. #15
    Looks like Josh mcdaniels is staying with the patriots

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