By: Russ Goldman
I have seen and heard talk by several media members and fans that the Patriots need to maximize the end of the Tom Brady years by bringing in high priced free agents, and loading up for one more run before Brady retires. I could not disagree with this philosophy more, and I will explain why I think the Patriots should add a few pieces to their roster, but also build for the future.
For some reason I am not enamored by what the Patriots became in 2007 when they did load up, and brought in a high priced free agent, but also brought in several offensive weapons through trades and free agency. That team was about the offense totally, and the Patriots became the Indianapolis Colts.
When the Patriots won their titles, they were much more balanced with neither side of the ball being more dominant. The offense was solid, and the defense was very good, but it wasn’t far above the level of the offense. The Patriots won their rings with balance.
I am not one that wants the Patriots to go back to the Randy Moss and Wes Welker years. You have three young wide receivers who unfortunately got injured late in the season, but there is the potential for the Patriots to have a Deion Branch and David Givens tandem once again. Neither one of these receivers were a true number one but they were good enough.
You also have Rob Gronkowski coming back, and if I am the Patriots I look for a replacement for Aaron Hernandez either in the draft or free agency. You should be trying to go back to that two tight end tandem that terrorized defenses.
Also, you do have decisions to make at slot receiver. You will have Danny Amendola back, and he was playing hurt the entire season with his groin injury. I expect once his injury is taken care of in the off-season, I will see the player I saw in pre-season. You can bring back Julian Edelman as well, but that is a decision that the Patriots need to make.
The point of this is that the cupboard is not bare like I have been reading in the papers, and hearing on the radio and television. Injuries do happen, and the Patriots offense should not look like it did in the AFC Championship Game.
I am not against the Patriots bringing in players in free agency, but they should not be bringing in these huge high priced names to appease the media and the fans. They need to put the organization first, and that means finding players that will fit into their system physically and financially.
Do not buy what the media is selling regarding that the Patriots have short changed Brady, and have not given him enough toys. This is simply not true, as unfortunately the Patriots were undone by injuries, and the Hernandez situation offensively this season.
The Patriots have a young nucleus on both sides of the ball, and honestly the future is very bright. I disagree with mortgaging the future to push for one more ring for Brady. I do believe you can get that title with the current plan, and build for life after Brady.
The Boston Celtics went for it as they made some moves to win a title, and I guess you can say it worked, but now the Celtics are back to square one. My fear is that by going for it in one season, it could jeopardize the future of the Patriots.
I have lived through a terrible drought for the Patriots which during that time in the eighties, and the early nineties, the team was the joke of the NFL. Bob Kraft is not cheap, and he is trying to keep the Patriots competitive each and every season. He has done this and whether you like it or not, his business model works.
Look at the New York Jets who went for it over the course of two seasons. They bought several high priced free agents, and it got them to the AFC Championship Game twice. However, look at the Jets now as they are basically back to square one. The business model for the Jets ultimately failed them.
So, when we look forward to the new season for the Patriots, there are several needs that should be taken care of, but I would stick to the Patriots business model, and find the right players that fit for next season and beyond. Just ask yourself, do you want to become the Jets?