Analyzing the Patriots Upcoming Free Agents

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Article, Feb 11, 2012.

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  1. Article Article In the Starting Line-Up

    Analyzing the Patriots Upcoming Free Agents
    By: Derek Havens

    Now that the NFL regular season has ended, this is a great time to evaluate the Patriots current roster. The following is a list of the Patriots free agents heading into the off ? season. Here are my thoughts on each players stance with the team moving fo...

  2. stevedogc

    stevedogc Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Anderson: Would like him back. Wouldnt over pay for him though

    Branch: Im shocked we got 16 games out of him. He knows the system and Brady likes
    him. Id only offer him 3rd/4th WR money. 2 years max.

    Carter: See Anderson. Hope we can retain at least one of Anderson/Carter

    Connolly: Definite bring back. Played surprisingly well for injured Koppen. Shoulndt cost
    much. Would draft a mid round Center to compete with.

    Ellis: No thanks.

    Faulk: I think he'll retire. If not, let him go. True team player and Patriot great. Put his
    name in the ring (if there ever is one)

    BJGE: Unless some other team offers him a big deal (which I think no one will) Id bring him
    back. Dependable straight forward runner. Better then he was in 2011 due to
    injuries. BJGE/Ridley/Vereen. Good stable there with potential.

    Guyton: No thanks. Think the Pats can improve the position in draft/fa

    Hoyer: Id offer him a 2nd round tender. Its only around 600K more then a first refusal and maybe
    someone will bite and offer him a deal and we get a 2nd rounder for him. Although I think
    that is highly unlikely.

    Ihedigbo: Id bring him back. Battled alot of injuries. Think he a solid back up when
    healthy. Tough player

    Jones: Cheap, 1 yr deal. Camp fodder

    Koppen: He may take a team friendly deal, but Im OK with letting him walk. Draft C and
    have him battle if out with Connolly. Use money for other needs.

    Koutouvides: See Jones

    Lockett: See Jones

    Love: Bring back. Quality back up and can make plays. Would like Dline upgrade via draft
    and/or FA. But Love can play.

    Molden: See Jones

    Slater: Bring back. ST ace. Wish he offered more on offensive side. But still valuable.

    Warren: Would bring back on 1 year deal to battle it out for last dline spot.

    Welker: Bring back. Id give him a 4 year deal. Other then the knee, the guy takes a
    beating and keeps getting up. Reliable. Get a true #1 WR in draft/fa who can
    make those acrobatic catches.

    White: See Jones.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  3. skinnydog

    skinnydog On the Game Day Roster

    I'd just as soon see them let Branch go if he won't take the veteran minimum. He knows the system, but just isn't a threat on the outside.
  4. UofApatsfan

    UofApatsfan Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Anderson - seems like a no brainer to me. Started getting more pressure as the season went on and you can tell really embraced playing in New England the way Haynesworth and Ocho didn't.

    Branch - One year deal if he'll agree to it.

    Carter - I agree with the article that he might retire. He was also an unproductive 3-4 player and IMO they should completely commit to a 3-4 again.

    Connolly - No brainer. Sign him for a 2-3 year deal and draft a young center to groom as the long term solution.

    Ellis - A lot of people didn't but I like him coming back for a 1 year deal. He's not an every down player but was useful in certain situations. If they draft a young 3-4 DE like they need to his presence would also be helpful.

    BJGE - With Ridley and Vereen it isn't a must but the fact he never fumbles is reason enough if the price is right.

    Guyton - Obvious no.

    Ihedigbo - Indifferent. He's a dime-a-dozen backup.

    Jones - Indifferent.

    Koppen - No. Connolly was an upgrade over him last season and he's simply too inferior physically to be useful, regardless of his chemistry with Brady.

    Lockett - Indifferent.

    Love - Yes. IMO he's not a legit starter at all but he provides depth and does what's expected of him.

    Molden - Indifferent if he's no longer the nickel corner.

    Slater - Yes but only for S/T. He shouldn't be getting snaps at receiver.

    Warren - Yes for a 1-2 year deal. Similar to Love...not someone I'd want as an every down starter but a big body who provides depth and who does his job.

    Welker - This is a massively unpopular opinion but IMO he shouldn't be franchised, and it goes beyond the drop. They should make every effort possible to resign him as a free agent to a 3-4 year deal but if a team like Washington goes nuts with a 5 year deal paying him close to Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson money then let him walk. Move Branch to the slot if that happens and replace him on the outside. A 5'8" receiver in his 30s with mediocre athleticism isn't someone who gets franchise receiver money, regardless of his stats.

    White - Yes as an S/T player who never touches the field on defense.
  5. MaineMan

    MaineMan 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    DE Mark Anderson – Was an effective TBC replacement. Certainly got more consistent pressure than TBC (though Ninko's contributions to that shouldn't be overlooked), but was still somewhat marginal in run defense. I'd guess 2 years at $2-3M should be enough to keep him around.

    WR Wes Welker’s contract situation - Unless Welker takes a home-town discount, I'd expect he gets $7M-$8M for 3-5 years. Guaranteed to be Franchised if there's no agreement before the deadline.

    WR Deion Branch – Not stellar anymore against press coverage, but still regularly got open on the edges when given any cushion, though Brady didn't target him much unless he was running a crossing pattern over the middle. Seemed to me like defenses were pressing Branch more the last few games, rather than Branch was "wearing down". In any case, he DID contribute 700 yards and a few TDs and I'd like to keep him at least as a tutor for any potential rookie successor. I'd think a one-year deal at something around his current rate probably gets him into 2012 camp to see what happens.

    DE Andre Carter – Great rush and way better than expected in run-defense - from the DE position. Didn't fare nearly as well when standing up at OLB, I thought. The OLB spot opposite Ninko is a weak point in the Pats 3-4 sets. Even if he comes back from his injury in perfect health, realistically another 1-2 years at his current rate seems the best likely offer. I hope it's acceptable because I'd like to see him (like Branch) tutor a young apprentice.

    OL Dan Connolly – Connolly has proven over the past two years that he can be a very capable starter at BOTH guard and center on one of the best OLs in the league. He even improved his run-blocking from the OC spot as this past season wore on. Based on current league pay rates for such a guy, Connolly seems likely to see an offer from another team around $4.5M (which was roughly Koppen's cap hit for 2011, just for playing center), maybe for 3-5 years. I'd like to think that the Pats will make every effort to keep him over Koppen, but the bidding might get outrageous.

    OL Dan Koppen - Assuming he comes back from his injury okay, AND if the Pats fail to keep Connolly, I could see a 2-year offer for around $3M. But then they'll need to draft another developmental prospect, too, to work behind Wendell and McDonald. OTOH, if Connolly gets re-signed and the coaches like what they've seen from McDonald, Koppen might be allowed to walk.

    DE Shaun Ellis – I don't see him getting any offer to re-up.

    RB Kevin Faulk – Seems almost obligatory for him to get a one-year offer and some time in OTAs and camp. But I expect retirement.

    RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis – BGE's specialty is one-cut, north-south, power running between the guards. His production was down this season, IMO, mainly due to the unsettled situation at center after Koppen wnet down and Connolly got dinged (though BGE's own dings contributed). I don't want to see the Pats lose him, but I feel that the reality is that a team like the Lions seems likely to offer him way more than what the Pats will because Ridley has proven to have nearly as much power and much better burst/shiftiness.

    LB Gary Guyton – Yeah, he's gone.

    QB Brian Hoyer (RFA) – I'm guessing he gets a 2nd-round tender. Unless Josh and BB feel that Mallett is ready to take over for Brady in an emergency, I don't think the Pats will preo-actively "shop" Hoyer around, though they'd likely listen to offers.

    S James Ihedigbo – Very good special teamer and reasonable reserve/nickel safety. I'd expect a 2-year offer that he'll accept, though he'll likely still be competing against Sergio Brown and possibly a draftee.

    DB Nate Jones – Possibly a 1-yr offer at a minimum rate to keep him for camp competition.

    LB Niko Koutouvides – IIRC, Koutouvides was never on the PS. I don't think he was even eligible, was he? In any case, he's yet another very competent special teams specialist and an okay fill-in/deep reserve LB. Probably a 1-yr offer at a minimum rate to keep him for camp competition.

    S Bret Lockett (RFA) – Not sure I'd bother at this point, even as a camp body. There are a lot of healthier guys who are way ahead of him.

    DL Kyle Love (RFA) – Almost guaranteed at least a 2-year extension at a decent rate.

    CB Antwaun Molden – Decent special teamer with significant inconsistency at DB. Possibly a 1-yr offer at a minimum rate to keep him for camp competition.

    WR/S Matthew Slater – Incumbent special teams leader. I'd guess 2+ years with a decent raise. BTW, listing Slater - or Edelman, for that matter - with any "position" at all is laughable. Both these guys are really "Special Teams/Utility." The league, or whoever, needs to make something like this an official "positional designation", if only to keep fanboys and Cris Carter from getting these guys confused with the actual WRs/safeties on the roster.

    DL Gerard Warren – I thought Warren actually had better per-snap production this season in a reduced role this season. I'd guess he's offered another year at vet minimum in the same role to see how things shake out in camp (hopefully against some significant talent acquired in the draft).

    LB Tracy White – Also an incumbent special teams leader and an okay nickel LB (though no starter there, for sure). I'd guess another year with a slight bump in pay rate, but he'll have some camp competition now from Ihedigbo, Koutouvides, etc. As with all such guys, whether White makes it to the 53-man roster for 2012 probably comes down to the numbers game in the end.
  6. patsderoer

    patsderoer On the Game Day Roster

    Branch still has it. He got wide open 4 times in the last SB 2 drives.
    When Brady and Welker misconnected, Branch was pretty open on the sideline. Brady could have gone to him. It would have been 3rd and short.
    Next 3rd down Branch gets wide open Brady throws behind him. Branch was too quick here LOL. If he was slower he would have been in perfect position to catch the ball.

    The final drive, when Branch "dropped", because of the deflection. If Brady waits one more second, Branch would have been wide open on the left side of the field. Brady threw the pass too quickly over the middle and it got deflected. Still Branch was wide open.
    And then on 4th down Branch converted 4th and 16.

    I would say that Branch still has it, he is very valuable because he knows the system. So I would definitely keep him.
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