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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    34,416

    Looking Ahead to the 2021 Season...

    Welp, playoff streak is over. Tough year overall. On the positive side, we were competitive in pretty much every game. On the negative side, a lack of talent came back to bite us in pretty much all of the close ones and we fizzled out to a loss in most of them. So it's back to the drawing board.

    Team is pretty devoid of talent all over. But there are a few positives to sift through...

    I'd say the RBs are pretty solid with Harris/Michel locked up. Harris was a huge breakthrough this year and looked to be a real solid option going forward. Michel is disappointing relative to draft status of course, but he's still a quality backup RB. It's very unlikely that the QB position could ever be addressed this offseason to the point where we aren't primarily a power running team next year, so there should be a role for both of them. Becoming respectable in the passing game would help - I have more faith in Harris in that regard than Michel, who seems to kind of just be who he is at this point.

    The OL has been a big strength at times this year. It started tough with Cannon opting out, but Jermaine Eluemunor stepped in and was a capable starter at RT. Mike Onwenu was a huge find though as a late rounder. He excelled as a backup first, both at Guard and RT. It was to the point he seized the starting RT job not because Eluemunor flopped but because Onwenu was just that good. Wynn once again had health issues, but played well at LT when he was available. Thuney/Andrews/Mason remains a great inside trio. Even Justin Herron showed well when injury sprung him into action. The issue here is that Thuney, Andrews, Eluemunor are all FAs and Cannon seems likely to be a cap casualty in his return. Even with Onwenu emerging as a legit starting option, that's only 3 starters with Mason/Wynn (latter which has huge injury concerns). If Herron could cut it as a starter then that still leaves you a starter short and obviously no depth. The position was great when healthy this year and held its own when injured, but looking ahead there are FA decisions to make.

    Jakobi Meyers emerged as a reliable option. Is he a #1? No. Is he a #2? Probably not. But as a #3... he's alright. The fact he's the only good option we have is a huge problem, but nonetheless he emerged as a guy that can be a part of the WR corps going forward IMO. To a lesser extent, Damiere Byrd was decent enough too. He's a FA though so not someone we can just pencil in now. If Meyers/Byrd was your #3/#4, that's solid though. Problem is they're our #1/#2.

    Gilmore didn't repeat his DPOY season but was still great. As was JC Jackson. Jon Jones is still a great slot. Assuming Jackson is tendered at the 1st round level, all 3 should be back next year. Maybe we move Gilmore, but barring that decision the CB position projects to be a strength again. Seems likely Jason McCourty moves on unless he takes low money just to stay where he's comfortable. Not that he was bad, but we have in house options already, especially with Myles Bryant flashing at times as an UDFA.

    McCourty and Lawrence Guy remain good to great players. McCourty has talked retirement before and Guy is a FA so it could one that neither is back. Would make lots of sense to try and retain Guy though and hopefully McCourty tries to go out on a higher note.

    On the positive young player side, Winovich, Dugger and Uche all flashed decently IMO. Not saying either were stars or will be, but all 3 seem like guys we can feel good about playing roles moving forward IMO. How high a level they reach remains to be seen, but I think all of them belong playing in NFL defenses for sure. Joejuan Williams and Anfernee Jennings... less so. Each are being asked to do different things then they got to the league doing so I give room for some growing pains. Their books aren't written yet, but it'd be blind faith to look at them and solidly project great things IMO. Byron Coward and Terez Hall looks guys who might belong on NFL rosters, but really just depth pieces, nothing more.

    I thought Adam Butler really showed out this year at times. Another ascending player. He will be an UFA though. Guy we should try to retain IMO.

    Now, on to the negatives... this team is springing leaks all over. The WR depth chart is pathetic overall and lacks a #1 or a #2. The TE position is nonexistent. Our QB is terrible. We have no real reliable top end talent in the front 7 - the ILB position in particular is terrible. We lack a force inside to control the running game.

    For roster cuts, I think Cannon and Beau Allen are sure goners. I think Edleman will be as well because he looked DONE when he played this year. Hightower's cap number is too big but if he wants to play again I can see him back at a lower number. Chung might come back to a smaller role but his contract status provides no real benefit to cutting him so I expect him back.

    The good news, we have a ton of cap space even with the covid drop. Should be flexibility to add lots of FA talent. I know our reputation is to not spend on big names, but in the years where things have worked out for us to have tons of cap space (2003, 2007, 2017) we've been aggressive. I[d imagine that trend holds again.

    I don't know that the QB position will be addressed to everyone's liking. Hard to say if we'll like a guy in the draft and not sure who will be available through trade/FA at what salary/draft pick cost. Seems unlikely they believe in Stidham if they think Cam is better. Seems unlikely they would truly view Cam as an answer, but he should be very cheap again so I could see a scenario where they try to run it back with more talent around him over spending money/picks on guys they still think isn't the answer. Factoring in cap rollover from this year and roster cuts and we should get up to like $70-80M to spend.

    The QB position is really it's own discussion and improvement may or may not be coming. But the other positions are extremely realistic to find talent upgrades through the draft/free agency. We have tons of cap space with the projected COVID declined cap. Revenue should jump back up so then we'll see a huge spike ahead of the 2022 season, so spending cap space should not be an issue at all. We have supreme flexibility to go after guys we like.

    Personally, I'd like to see us start by retaining Thuney. I know it will be a huge deal, but I think he's worth it and without any real elite talent on the roster it makes sense to retain one of the few we have. I think JC Jackson and Adam Butler are good young players we should look to lock up long term. Beyond that, I think Lawrence Guy and David Andrews are good vets we should be able to lock in at reasonable deals.

    Beyond that, once again pulling out the QB position, I think ILB/DT/WR/TE are positions we desperately need talent upgrades at. Would be nice to land a legitimate player at two of those spots in FA. Hopefully a blue chip prospect with what should be a higher pick than we usually have too.

    Realistically, this isn't going to be a quick rebuild to this team becoming a super bowl contender. But I think there's a solid path to pushing for the playoffs with the right offseason signings.


    NE Patriots Forum HOF (Class of 2011)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    1,575
    With the season about to come to an end and big offseason ahead of us for sure what do you realistically want to see happen?

    For me.....WR, TE & future QB have to be addressed.

    We will have to sign a FA wide receiver and although Allan Robinson, TY Hilton, Cory Davis will all be on the market we will be more than likely be priced out of them (especially ARob) with the cap going down.

    Our draft position as it stands right now is pick 15, which more than likely wonít land us one of the top four QBs.....Lawrence, Fields, Wilson or Lance.

    Hoping the off-season goes something like this.

    Sign FA WR Curtis Samuel or Marvin Jones, I prefer Samuel because of his speed and versatility. (Stay far away from AJ Green)

    As hard as it is for me to say it, move Gillmore. It will free up a bunch of cap and with the emergence of JC Jackson, J.Jones and us getting opt out players back we can withstand the loss. The cap space and return will be worth it.

    Draft- Take Kyle Pitts if heís still on the board, heís one of the few offensive skill players in this draft that is NFL ready right now. A more athletic version of Darren Waller, if it translates over to the NFL like expected to then we strike gold. At 6í6 heís matchup nightmare.

    If Pitts is off the board and Devonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle is still available, take them...If both are off the board trade back.

    The next pick is a must where we go QB, trade up if we have to in rnd 2 (the cost is less of hit that making a rnd1 trade up). With this pick take have to take Mac Jones or Trask, they would be first round picks any other year if this draft wasnít QB loaded in the early rounds.

    If we didnít land Pitts or either of the Bama receivers the following pick must be a WR.
    Kadarius Toney, Rondale Moore, Chris Olave, Terrance Marshall or Rashod Bateman all guys that are super talented.

    If we move Gilmore and add in all the comp picks we should have 11-12 draft picks this year pending on the Gilly return.

    QB- This one is tough because although cam didnít look that good he literally had ZERO help as we had by far the worst receiving corps in the entire league. This was a much worse team than Brady had and he couldnít even do it with more. I would be open to
    resigning Cam on the same 1yr deal to bridge the new QB in for next year, if we donít sign Cam the try and sign Fitzpatrick on a 1yr deal.

    Thuney- must be addressed, hopefully we can resign him but I got the feeling a franchise tag is coming.

    As HPF said, I think Meyers is a viable #3 WR

  3. #3
    I can't believe anyone is open to bringing back cam. Help or no help, he sucks. He throws the ball low every time, holds on to it for 15 seconds and they do the same play with him every time (qb draw). This is the worst pats team I've seen in my lifetime. On the bright side at least they got rid of hoyer.

    Honestly the main person that needs to go is Josh McDaniels. One of the worst offensive coordinators in the league.

  4. #4
    To add to my post above; Belichecks stubbornness to keep going with Cam makes me kind of hope he leaves the patriots soon. He can go to the giants or wherever for all i care

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    836
    Quote Originally Posted by bosox1899 View Post
    To add to my post above; Belichecks stubbornness to keep going with Cam makes me kind of hope he leaves the patriots soon. He can go to the giants or wherever for all i care
    LOL at the Belichick comment. Didn't know the circus was in town.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    5,296
    Quote Originally Posted by bosox1899 View Post
    To add to my post above; Belichecks stubbornness to keep going with Cam makes me kind of hope he leaves the patriots soon. He can go to the giants or wherever for all i care
    Completely ridiculous take. If Stidham had shown ANY promise he would have played. But BB is not going to hand the kid the job. It's Stidhams job to prove he's better, he didn't. It's not good enough to be AS good but younger so you get to play. No, not how it works.

    Cam was not good. But he came here on an undervalued contract, even as poorly as he played at time, we underpaid him vs what he gave us. His deal was incentive laden. With Stidham not showing he was BETTER and Cam being a vet on an undervalued incentive laden contract, BB paid respect to Cam and kept him as the starter.

    You are way too short sighted. This isn't even just about Cam or BB... If BB benched Cam and screwed him out of his incentives, what does that say to future Free Agents who BB wants to bring in on similar deals. It wouldn't play well with them and they'd take the money elsewhere thinking BB would do the same and bench them for someone who's younger but not better.

    BB made the right call. The only person to blame for Stidham not playing more is Stidham himself. Play better than the starter and you'll get a chance.

    Seasons over. Move on. BB still the GOAT.

    City of Champions

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