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Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by Off The Grid, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    If PatsFans allows it, I thought it might be useful to consolidate my Random Musings into a single Thread, henceforth. I don't expect to have much to say here about the Draft until I've run through all my paces, which probably won't be until some point in April, but this will ultimately be mostly about the Draft, I expect. And I don't generally venture out among the General Population, so if the Moderators see fit to allow it, I thought I'd create a Depository, here, as it were, of Notions that occur to my febrile mind as I navigate the Galaxy. :D

    I have some vague Aspiration of penning a thought or two every Sunday about the Patriots for the next few, perhaps several weeks. Then again, it might be a One Off. But I greatly appreciate the musing of the Fine Minds in this Forum, and it seems only appropriate to at least attempt to Contribute To The Discussion, be my Efforts ever so deranged. :)

    First up: Vince Wilfork
     
  2. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    [​IMG]

    Please allow me to preface this by mentioning that I absolutely worship this guy. I love the way he plays FootBall, I love his Sustained Dedication to the 1000's of little things that he's done to sustain his Greatness and his Health, I love his Dedication to'is Mates and his Wife...And I love the way he goes about everything.

    And I'm damned if I consider a cold-blooded straight-out Cut to be the best way to go with someone who's done so much to forge our Legacy...and who has meant and continues to mean so much to New EngLand.

    This is my Take on a difficult subject...

    If my understanding of Vince Wilfork's 5 Year/$40,000,000 Contrat that he's currently playing under is correct, he essentially signed a 4 Year Deal with a Team Option for the 5th Year, the latter of which is 2014.

    It's perfectly common: He raked in $25,000,000 in absolutely well deserved Guarantees, those being the $18,000,000 Signing Bonus ~ in March of 2010 ~ and the ensuing 3 Years Salaries, with Salaries of $7,500,000 each in 2013 and 2014, neither of which was guaranteed.

    My point being: Vince Wilfork is an intelligent man who understood the Darwinian nature of the Salary Cap, and signed that Contract with the full understanding that Salary Cap considerations ~ the ProRated Signing Bonus ~ effectively guaranteed the 2013 Salary, but that either poor performance or Injury would almost certainly render the 2014 Year Null & Void.

    And so it is.

    Point being: Vince Wilfork neither warrants nor, I'm quite confident, wishes for our Pity. Paying Players lofty Salaries out of Sentiment or misplaced Appreciation ~ though God knows any Patriots fan worships this guy ~ when they've already been lucratively rewarded, is the fastest way I can imagine to transform an annual Super Bowl Team into a Lottery Team.

    Vince Wilfork earned every penny of those 4 Years and the Bonus. I'm glad he got it, and gratefull for'is phenomenal Play, over the last Decade. And I would also add that if Coach Bill hadn't persisted in his idiotically abusive insistence on playing Wilfork on virtually every freaking Down for the last 2 or 3 Years ~ a Practice which I repeatedly warned would come to a traumatic and disastrous end ~ then we'd probably not be having this Discussion, as Wilfork would probably never have suffered the Catastrophic Injury which I repeatedly warned against.

    But It Is What It Is.

    What remains to be done now is of course to look forward and evaluate Potential Costs and Potential Benefits.

    Achilles Injuries are taking smaller bites out of Player's Careers than they used to, but unless you're Adrian Peterson, I'm expecting that your first Year back is going to be what I term a Recovery Year ~ one in which you gradually get stronger and incrementally recover the Power and Agility ~ hopefully all of it, if you're young enough ~ that you previously enjoyed.

    In English: It would be foolish to expect Vince Wilfork to regain his former form until 2015...and in 2015 he will turn 34.

    Players tend to peak at around 30, though some ~ like Wilfork ~ sustain an high level of Efficacy well beyond that age.

    But Wilfork was already showing signs, earlier this Year, that the excessive wear and tear of far too many Snaps for far too many Games had finally combined with the advancing Years, at long last, to slow'm down.

    Whether or not Wilfork makes it back for the 2014 Campaign is an open question, though my money's on him. And I like his Chances of playing for another 2 or 3 Years, preferably on half the Snaps, and playing effectively.

    But I also expect far less than the Dominance of the last Decade.

    It stands to reason, yes?

    If we were to simply cut Vince Wilfork loose, I don't expect that he'd get much more than the Vet Minimum.

    But neither would I wish to play HardBall with a guy who's given so much to build and enrich the Legacy of this Team.

    I'd like to offer the guy a 3 Year Contract ~ technically a Restructure ~ for $2,500,000 each, and even pile on Incentives of the Not Likely To Be Earned kind for Snaps and a combination of Snaps & Championships.

    That would neatly carve 2/3 of this Year's negotiable Cap Impact Dollars from the Cap, a cool $5,000,000.

    And it wouldn't commit a single future Penny, yet would retain his Services for 3 Years if he returns to effective Play, as I expect, and allowing us the option of cutting him, if Gods Forbid, he doesn't recover well enough.

    Some will foolishly look at that as his playing the 2nd and 3rd Year for free, considering the $7,500,000 that he's nominally slotted to earn this Year. But of course the Reality is that money is already vapor.
     
  3. Coach42

    Coach42 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Cutting Wilfork is like putting your favorite dog down.
     
  4. Danger Zone

    Danger Zone 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Rather than put a finite number on his salary, I imagine what Wilfork wants is the chance to prove himself.. mixed maybe with the very human desire of everyone having some faith in him.

    To that end it makes the most sense to me to ask Wilfork to restructure his contract -but with "generous" performance/playing-time incentives.

    If indeed this is a "recovery" year for him then his off year wont tie up the team too badly..

    ..and if he plays as well as I personally feel he will be motivated to do so then he will get paid like he deserves to be.
     
  5. Coach42

    Coach42 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Dominique Wilkins came back from an Achilles injury in his early 30's to average 29.9 ppg. It's not impossible Wilfork regains his explosiveness just really unlikely.

    I think the fact that BB let Wilfork stay on the sidelines all season (something I can't remember him doing) before might speak to both sides willingness to work something out.
     
  6. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Like you, I worship Wilfork and fully appreciate what he's done for the team in the past - work for which he's been fairly compensated. Like you, I bemoaned his excessive snap count which I felt would be a set up for injury.

    But for me, it comes down to this: As a highly experienced medical professional, I am very skeptical about Wilfork's ability to come back at a meaningful level in 2014. I readily admit that I don't have access to all of the medical data, and that no one, including a sports medicine expert like Dr. James Andrews , can accurately predict exactly how long it will take Wilfork to recover, and to what an extent he will have a full recovery. But besides his age and weight, his family history of diabetes leaves me very concerned that he will not heal at a rapid rate, and may be susceptible to re-injury.

    Because of that, I would personally be extremely cautious of any approach which (1) ties up significant cap space in Wilfork until the team has a better idea of his recovery trajectory, and (2) precludes going after a veteran defensive tackle.

    When I do that calculus, the outcome I come up with is "cut". I don't particularly relish that solution, and if a deal can be struck which satisfies the two points above I'd welcome it. But I'm not convinced that such an approach is feasible.
     
  7. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    That's perfectly reasonable. Mind you...

    I don't presume to read the minds of Vince Wilfork, Bill Belichick, or Robert Kraft, but my Proposal, if acceptable to all, would allow us to retain his services without committing even a Penny of fresh Cap Space. :cool:

    We diverge on the advisability of spending significant Money in Free Agency, though, as usual. ;)
     
  8. gobesmug

    gobesmug On the Roster

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    OTG yet another brilliant post. You perfectly explained the hard to accept situation along with a possible solution that would seem reasonable from both sides. I hope to see the big man lined up in blue for a few more seasons. Its just sad, that when BB finally drafts some playmakers on the defensive side, that Wilfork went down.

    If Wilfork can't make it back, then I love Mayo's idea of bringing him back as a coach.
     
  9. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa In the Starting Line-Up

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    Agree with the sentiments. Belichick can't get soft now. He cut Lawyer Milloy when he was 29 and healthy because he wasn't making enough plays. Traded Richard "Freakin" Seymour. Let White Wes walk after 6 fabulous seasons. The writing is on the wall. I think Vince is gone. Only way he comes back is if he's released from this contract. We take the pro-rated hit. And, he signs a bonus-laden contract at vet minimum. I was making my cuts last night. I have Wilfork, Kelly, Sopoaga, Connelly, A. Wilson as goners. Mankins is lucky Connelly is getting released or he could get dealt too.
     
  10. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Some frenemies of mine, who bleed NY Giants blue and who LOVE to talk smack about the Patriots, have admitted that they have a ton of respect for the organization and how even if the Pats don't win it they're in the hunt every year. This isn't by accident, it's by making those heartless moves that Kraft/BB keep the train moving.

    The little pains we feel when a beloved player is let go is small in comparison to the years long pain a fanbase feels when they cheer for the Jets.
     
  11. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm not a huge fan of spending money in free agency for the sake of it. But I've always felt that if there was a player who fit at the right price, then it should be explored. There are only a limited number of draft picks, rookies take time to coach up to speed, and UDFAs are going to be hit or miss.

    Right now there are 3 players/positions I would consider in FA, besides re-signing our own key players:

    1. A center upgrade to Ryan Wendell. Specifically, Alex Mack if he is available and it can be managed. I think he would be a homework. Probably a longshot.

    2. DT Linval Joseph as a Wilfork replacement. Art Schechter rumored the possibility of the Pats being interested in him before the trade deadline. I don't know if it was just a rumor or if the trade price ended up being too high, but he is someone I was high on coming out in 2010 and am still high on. He is only 25, and could be a cornerstone DT for a long time. Chris Jones is a rookie, Armond Armstead hasn't played a game in the NFL yet, and Sealver Siliga is still not far removed from the PS and bouncing between 4 NFL teams, so a young veteran could help anchor the position and provide experience as well as talent. Again, it depends on whether he hits FA and the price. I had Desmond Bryant as a target last year, and he was priced way out of our league and gone on the first day of free agency.

    3. A #2 TE for depth behind Gronk and as a red zone target. Brandon Pettigrew is the guy I have in mind. Wilfork#75 has suggested that Jermaine Gresham could be a cap casualty. Again, probably long shots.

    I think any of those guys could significant improve the team if the price was affordable. If Edelman isn't re-signed, I would also like a reasonably low-cost FA WR, but nothing extravagant - I don't want the Pats addressing WR in this draft if possible, unless the value is absurdly good.

    Rather than go out and sign 10 low-budget FAs who don't contribute very much to the team (Jonathan Fanene, Daniel Fells, Adrian Wilson) or overpay for mediocre talent (Steve Gregory), I'd rather the Pats concentrate their efforts on a few guys who could significantly impact the team, if they do anything at all.
     
  12. Get it shawtaay

    Get it shawtaay Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    #32 Jersey

    With such a puntastic username this doesn't surprise me one bit.
     
  13. gobesmug

    gobesmug On the Roster

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    I agree with pretty much everything here, which is normally the case with your posts Mayo. Shoring up the interior line with Wood and Joseph would be awesome. Mayo, what is your take on Kelly? I thought he looked dominant before getting hurt last year.

    Getting a TE like Pettigrew would be good. He hasn't lived up to his draft grade potential, but he is that solid blocker who is a legit red zone threat. I personally prefer Scott Chandler. He runs such a perfect seam route, which happens to be one of Brady's most accurate passes.

    I don't fault the pats for Gregory, and feel he is a little underrated by pats fans. I guess that's the price you pay after watching a hall of fame player at the position. It seems that safety is the hardest position to find an elite player. Of the pats 4 previous safeties. Sanders, Meriweather, Ihedibo, and Chung. All got starting jobs as safeties after leaving, despite how bad they appeared to be here. Which is why I really hope the pats extend Mccourty and somehow are in range to draft Calvin Pryor.
     
  14. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I was very excited when the Pats signed Kelly last year, as OTG can attest, and he definitely lived up to my expectations before getting hurt. It's a shame that we never got to see a fully healthy Wilfork and Kelly together - I think they could have been dominant. I also badly wanted to draft Lawrence Okoye last year, and thought that giving him a year to "understudy" behind Kelly would greatly accelerate his learning curve.

    I wouldn't do anything rash about Kelly. I think that he liked his time here and fit in well, and he could possibly agree to a pay cut or an incentive-based short-term extension. His ACL injury didn't require surgery, so presumably it was a partial tear and should fully heal. IF the opportunity presents itself to grab a stud DT prospect like Hageman in the draft then he could possibly become expendable, especially if he doesn't come back to form, but I see no reason to rush on this one.

    Pettigrew has had problems with drops, as people have noted, but he's a very good red zone target and a tremendous blocker who would allow the Pats to run 2-TE power sets, and that's really what I think is needed most. I'm not so sure Chandler fits that as well. Jermaine Gresham would be intriguing if he gets cut, but I see that as a long-shot.

    I don't mind Gregory, but I thought the contract was a bit rich at the time for a guy who had never been a starter, just as I thought Kyle Arrington's contract was too rich for a guy who's basically a slot CB. As for Sanders, Meriweather, Ihedigbo and Chung, none have exactly distinguished themselves since leaving the Pats. The Ravens have made it clear that they want to upgrade the safety position opposite Matt Elam this offseason, Sanders has started a grand total of 6 games since being cut by the Pats in the 2011 preseason, and Meriweather has distinguished himself mainly by penalties and fines for headhunting. And as for Pat Chung, he's a likely cut by the Eagles after a terrible season, which NFL.com's Mark Sessler summed up as follows:

    "Hot mess" sounds pretty much like the Chung we saw in 2012 with the Pats. No doubt Gregory is better than those guys, but that's not a terribly high bar. I just wish all that praise for his savvy and field IQ translated into few poor angles and missed tackles. I'd love him to become the "Rob Ninkovich of the secondary", but I'm not holding my breath after 2 seasons, though he did improve this year.

    As for Calvin Pryor, I'd love to get him and think he'd be a perfect fit, but doubt that will be an option. Deone Buchannon, Ed Reynolds or Kyle Fuller/Stanley Jean-Baptiste/Antone Exum as safety converts might be possibilities. I'm quite high on Jonathan Dowling and Dontae Johnson, 2 guys still under the radar (Johnson is 228 in NFL DraftScout's most recent rankings, Dowling has been hovering around the 284 mark for awhile) and think that both are real talents. Drew Boylhart of the Huddle Report has Johnson (who I had my eye on a year and a half ago) rated as a 1st round prospect in his draft profiles.
     
  15. gobesmug

    gobesmug On the Roster

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    Greshem would be a perfect fit and has been the product of poor qb play. I don't see him being cut, but would hope the pats would go after him if he did. Maybe the pats could trade a 6th or a 7th for him if they want to get rid of him.

    My comment on the pats former safeties, wasn't to point how how good hey, but to point out how bad safeties are in general in the nfl. Which is why I hope BB extends McCourty in the offseason.

    I don't see how Pryor can make it out of the teens, but he would look so good next to McCourty. His physicality reminds of Sean Taylor when he was coming out of college. Without the ballhawking skills though.
     
  16. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Thank you kindly, Brother...what shall I call you?? :eek:
     
  17. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Ayup. So attested. :D
     
  18. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I've never known you to be at a loss for words. :boink:
     
  19. gobesmug

    gobesmug On the Roster

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    What ever you so desire OTG. My screen name is a username I've used for years, its go be smug smushed together, so gbs would be fine.

    I am highly anticipating your analysis on the upcoming defensive players for this draft.
     
  20. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I wouldn't do that if I were you ... otherwise you might find yourself referred to as "Brother Smug". :bricks:
     

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