Originally Posted by RayClay
I think it's a myth that the Pats always wait, they usually just don't find value in the high priced free agents.
Might be different this year because of the LB situation. If they're willing to pay, they'll pounce.
Facts have such an amazing way of getting in the way of opinions.
Of course its a myth.
When BB arrived here, the team was in cap hell.
In 2000 he had to cut players to get under the cap.
In 2001 he had little cap room, and needed a lot of players.
In 2002 there was very little cap room to work with, we were actually over the cap and restructured contacts to be able to sign anyone.
In 2003, we had a moderate amount of cap room and singed Harrison, Colvin, Poole, and used every penny.
In 2004, we traded for Dillon, and had little cap room to sign FAs.
In 2005, we had very little cap room, and held it back for potentially Branch, Law, etc.
This year, we have cap room.
How will we use it. Everyone seems to think we will follow the strategies of 2000-2005, but the landscape is entirely different.
To assume BB with cap room will do what BB did without cap room, and if many years, needing to cut or restructure players just to create cap room, is ignoring the facts.
This does not mean we will be in bidding wars the first day of Free Agency. A key component of our SUCCESSFUL FA strategy over the last 6 years is that BB would be outsold. No player was needed, and so much better than the alternatives that his hand would be forced. (and the alternatives are not the other FAs at a pposition, but ALL of th eother ways touse the same cap space) I am sure that characteristic of his philosophy will come into play. But IMO it is ludicrous to say that great players who carry high price tags are something BB disdains. He has not pursued them often, but he WAS UNABLE TO.
This year the Pats are in the vicinity of having more money than needs, as opposed to never having an off-season where they didn't have more needs than they had money to spend.
If the best use of the money, for THIS team in THIS condition, with the needs they have, the LONG RANGE cap shape they are in, their feeling about the ability of players who could or would be accepting larger roles if the roster stood as it does today, is to attack the top end of the market, he will do it. I cannot say what it will be because I dont know these answers. I do know though that BBs PAST RECORD IN FA AS HC/GM OF NEP, is not predictive of what he will do this year, because he is operating from a tremendously different position.
Lets put it another way:
In 2002, with limited cap space he signed Donald Hayes. That year cap management was tight, especially looking longterm. Had the cap situation been 10mill less that year and every year going forward, there is absolutely no question that BB would have aggressively gone after the best WRs on the FA market, rather than the cheap end, because he had the means to do it. (The only caveat is that instead he may have gone at the high end of the market in a different position or 2, but I think the point is the same)
From my chair, the cap room we have and the FA market that exists says that, yes we will be going after big ticket guys, because the value in the mid-range, and its matchup to our needs doesn't seem good. As I said before though, I do not have enough information to know for sure.
One thing I am certain of is that BB wants the best football players he can get, but realizes he must afford them as well. He will spend to the cap, so the decision is between fewer players at higher prices and more at lower prices. The fact that he did the second in the past under different circumstances, is not relevant to what he will do under these circumstances.