A New Awakening ... Or A Strategy Revealed?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patsfangr, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. patsfangr

    patsfangr Rookie

    Mar 13, 2007
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    ***** I've been thinking about what this FA acquisition explosion says about last year's inactivity in the market for the last few days. As successful as our Front Office has been this decade, I just find it hard to accept that they were as unconscious as they appeared to be last year.

    ****** Could these guys really have been THAT wrong about the outcome of the contract negotiations with both Branch and Givens? Did they overestimate their ability to re-sign one or both of them?

    ***** Or, did BB and Pioli get so overwhelmed by their own press clippings that they thought they could make a silk purse out of a sow's ear? Did they badly underestimate the affect of losing both of them upon our offense?

    ***** Or, is it possible that they were actually thinking on a strategic level, beyond last season? Did they actually make a conscious decision to lay low in FA last season, so that they could "load up" for the FA harvest we've seen this year?

    ***** Going back to my initial point, I have to lean toward the latter proposition. I struggled through all of last season wondering how this FO team that had built 3 Super Bowl champions could MISS what were obvious weaknesses to we fans. Is it not absolutely undeniable that they know a hell of a lot more about the NFL, and the Patriots team, than any of us? It sure is to me. Thus my bewilderment at that Goodwill WR corps, and paper thin LB corps. I could write off the DB weakness to exceptional injury problems. But the WRs and LBs appeared inadequate all through the off-season.

    ***** Of course, it's all speculation on a moot point now. We are where we are; and where we are is in fantastic shape, with a few weeks still left before the draft to either do more in the FA market, or get a long-term deal done with Samuel (which might eat up the rest of our CAP room). But I'm curious about what others out there feel about this. Do any of you agree with me that the "rope-a-dope" routine in last year's FA market was just a set up for this knockout attack this year?

    (Will there be a Samuel contract extension; or another major signing - like my man, SS Ken Hamlin?)

  2. hwc

    hwc In the Starting Line-Up

    Sep 13, 2004
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    1) The Pats couldn't do anything until the CBA was done because they weren't going to put themselves in a position to blow up the team if the CBA didn't happen. There are teams -- like the Colts and the Redskins -- that were in deep trouble without a new CBA to bail them out.

    2) Once the CBA was done (late, if you recall), the Pats first order of business was an extension for Richard Seymour.

    3) Branch sucker punched 'em. He told them he wanted to do a deal. That was his story all through the draft. They made him a good faith $5+ million a year extension offer and that was the last they ever heard from Branch. The agent was looking to make a name for himself - Branch was his first real client. The ultimatums started and the agent refused to talk about a counter-offer to the Pats.

    4) By the time the Branch sucker punch took place, there was nothing left in free agency. Givens was gone (they didn't think he was worth that kind of money). All the Pats could do is make the best of a horrible situation -- trading for a future first rounder because the draft had already happened.

    5) They banked Branch's money for this year, signed Caldwell, traded for Gabriel, and did what they could. They had tried to trade for Javon Walker earlier, but Branch had called him and told him the Pats were a crappy organization. They tried to trade for Stallworth, but didn't have the linebacker the Saints wanted.
  3. unoriginal

    unoriginal In the Starting Line-Up

    Nov 12, 2006
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    I'm not going to get in to what fans were thinking in March 2005. Too many viewpoints. For simplicity's sake I'll limit myself to what you say or imply.

    I don't think BB/Pioli got caught with their pants down by the new FA, or made a decision to lay low so they'd have more holes to fill this year, or that they misread things. Last year's free agency was complicated by the late negotiations over the CBA, and then by the new CBA itself. As the Patriots were (and are) one of the more talented, overbuilt rosters in the NFL, they prudently let the market settle and define itself before making their moves. Teams with troubled rosters - like Washington, Miami, Detroit - took early risks, many of which did not pan out.

    Based upon what was observed, the Pats crafted their strategy for 2007, which was to get in early and make aggressive "take it or leave it" offers to free agents. You're right when you presume they thought on a strategic level, but I think you got the origin of the strategy wrong when you imply that this year's FA field was better than 2006's.

    Branch is a separate matter from Givens entirely, and has been debated exhaustively. What many of us more stoic fans have come to accept is that some fans will perceive it as arrogance when BB/Pioli set boundaries for their players. Branch negotiated himself off this team in a similar fashion to how Corey Simon ate his way off the roster in Indy. Because the Colts won the Super Bowl, and we did not, means that Simon being deactivated mid-season is seen as the proper move, while trading Branch for first is somehow seen as a fault in personnel management.
  4. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Sep 13, 2004
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    In retrospect they were not prepared for the Branch fiasco and did not imagine it could happen.

    This year is much different, they want the WR's here for off season workouts and want a solid base to work with at TC.. the day of picking up WR's off of the street is gone. Some seem to think this is BB's last run, but it is what it is an intelligent response to cap management. Everyone of these guys signed are done so responsibily and we are in good shape for a few years. We have depth for our 30 year old QB, who needs this to make this offense better. We have a new stud LB who will allow Bruschi and some of the other guys to take less reps. Our D is better, and our O is better.. and this is before the draft.

    It seems that next we will sign Assante long term, then take a look at the second tier of FA's that might be diamonds in the rough.

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