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Getting elite wide receivers: Why did BB wait?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Tunescribe, Oct 23, 2007.

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  1. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Randy Moss's postgame quote from a couple weeks ago has stuck with me (paraphrasing): "Peyton Manning has his wide receivers. There's no reason Tom Brady can't have his own." My question is, why did it take BB so long to emphasize that position so the Patriots could take full advantage of Brady's ability?

    The answer could be: (A). there has been a fundamental change in BB's offensive philosophy or, (B). the opportunity never presented itself in the right players being available at the right time.

    Neither answer really satisfies me, although I'm leaning heavily toward (B), because BB has tried to bring in free agent wide receivers in the past, some of whom got here and didn't pan out, and some of whom chose to go elsewhere. There's also the ongoing Chad Jackson saga. Still, you've got to wonder what might have been if Brady had better weapons at his disposal throughout his career, especially last season. Was this a gross oversight by BB that finally has been rectified?
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  2. richpats

    richpats Banned

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    After the AFC title game he knew the days of getting by with good-to-mediocre receivers were over. The league has changed. Look at our 5 losses last year - we struggled severely passing the ball in the clutch. I figure Belichick was tired of watching teams like Miami and Denver make Brady look like a mediocre QB when all he needed was a go-to-guy. "Enter the Moss"
  3. Pat_Nasty

    Pat_Nasty Rookie

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    Can you think of any FA wide receivers that you wish the Pats had pulled the trigger on?

    Antwan Randle El for 7 years, $31 mil, and $10 mil in bonuses? No thanks.
  4. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Well it's a combination I'd say - by now we can all see what having top tier WRs means to a team... last season we saw what having lower tier WRs meant in terms of CBs stacking the line and pressuring Brady, etc...

    For the most part we've been in between - with decent WRs - and have 3 SB rings to show for it. Keeping in mind we've won nothing yet this season, and there is indeed some luck involved in winning a SB, while those SB seasons were harder fought than this one is appearing, its clear one DOESN'T need Randy Moss caliber WRs to win a Super Bowl.

    Heck - we were ONE additional first down from going to the SB last season even with a poor class of WRs - and I think we're all confident of how we'd have done against the Bears.

    But in reality BB DID try to get a top tier WR, going after Derrick Mason in his prime, coming after him as the highest bidder - only to be shunned because his wife wanted to go elsewhere.

    Who knows who else we went after and missed out on... and while one additional good WR last year might have resulted in another SB ring, no one is going to second guess the team for passing on Givens, or in the way the Branch situation panned out.

    So there's no aversion to top tier WRs in BB's playbook - but nor is he going to overpay for mediocre talent, and indeed, he knows he can still win without them... though its clearly much easier to win going this route.

    I do think that neither BB nor Pioli nor Brady himself really knew just how effective and dominating Brady would be with a Moss/Stallworth/Welker combo... yeah, everyone knew it would be good - but not too many people could have predicted THIS level of success either!
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  5. makoute

    makoute Rookie

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    The stars were just aligned for the Pats to sign Moss. They're paying Randy Moss, what they would probably be paying Deion Branch had he stayed here. That's not a bargain you get very often.
  6. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    I think that it is B) with a WR of Moss' caliber. He really is one of the greatest arbitrage situations in the history of investing.

    But NE has been looking to upgrade its roster for some time. They went high to get Jackson (much to some people's chagrin, it was still an attempt) they were trying to get Mark Clayton from Baltimore (as a draft pick trade, not post draft) and gave a generous offer to Mason.

    Just as this year's team was able to take advantage of favorable conditions last year's team was snakebit by the opposite. It is what it is.
  7. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    We tried to get Dyson a few years ago remember?

    Belichick wanted to become pass happy after 2004 based on the new rules, but didn't want to splurge either.
  8. Nordy

    Nordy Rookie

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    Derrick Mason probably wishes he hadn't listened to his wife. What an idiot.
  9. Pat_Nasty

    Pat_Nasty Rookie

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    You're acting like Belichick thought that going into the '06 season with Reche Caldwell as our #1 receiver was a good idea. When personnel decisions were being made, we were looking for a replacement for David Givens.

    Branch's hold-out and subsequent trade changed the landscape entirely. People around here might not want to admit it, but Branch is a very good receiver. Not Moss good, of course, but still, a good, solid #1 WR. So the very premise that Belichick ever didn't want good receivers on our team is flawed.
  10. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Rookie

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    Yeah unfortunately the wife holds the key to the nookie. So there you have it.

    I think the Pats did not want to overpay Branch (smart move), they went after Mason (turned down), and they've been cap restrained a bit.

    But once they had the cap space this year they went after Stallworth, Welker, AT, Morris and Moss. This is one of the best offseasons in recent Pats history. And the cap bump coupled with not having tied up big dollars to Branch and Givens really helped make it possible.
  11. tombonneau

    tombonneau Rookie

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    It was public knowledge Moss was on the block a year ago and I wanted him. Of course, Stallworth was available around the same time.

    Javon Walker was available for trade (though his healthy is now a concern).

    Plaxico Burress could have been obtained.

    TJ Housh was a FA (or RFA?) a year or two ago, I wanted him.

    They could have made a strong push for Wayne rather than letting the Colts lock him back up. Pretty sure he was a full on FA, though not positive.

    Obviously to your point there have not been a ton of top tier FA WRs, but the fact is that a fair share of top flight WRs have been available via trade or RFA and the Pats could have gone after any.

    The only one they made overtures toward was Mason, who I don't even consider top tier.
  12. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    Really, the only one who was a legitimate option was Stallworth.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  13. sebman2112

    sebman2112 Rookie

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    You have to realize the Patriots originally thought Deion Branch was going to be a member of that 2006 Patriots squad, and it would have been nice if they brought in better receiving options for Brady but they did at least try.

    NE was interested in trading for Stallworth but the Saints wanted a 3rd/4th and one of the Patriots backup LB's (I believe it was Banta-Cain) NE thought that was to rich, especially since Stallworth might have split after 2006. It would have been nice to have him last year, though.

    They brought in Doug Gabriel who some believed a young developing WR. It turned out Gabriel had an attitude so he found the door.

    NE drafts Chad Jackson who some thought was the best WR in the 2006 draft (I still believe he could be) but he goes down with injuries missing most of training camp, and then struggled to get on the field and be effective throughout the 2006 season.

    As you mentioned they brought in Donald Hayes who was supposed to be a good WR, and he did nothing. NE also tried to bring in Derrick Mason but he chose the Ravens. They also brought in David Terrell hoping he and Brady would recapture that magic they shared at Michigan....

    So, it's been a combination of things. Really, I think the FO has tried to bring in good receiving options in the past but they didn't make it their main priority. This year after dropping that game to the Colts it was obvious Brady needed better weapons so they made it a priority. This time going after Stallworth (and sealing the deal), pulling Welker away from the Dolphins, and gaining Randy Moss from the Raiders for only a 4th round pick.

    The other thing to think about is if Randy was available for a 4th round pick in 2006 do you think NE would have pulled the trigger? I sure do, but he wasn't available for a 4th rounder last year which is one of the key differences between the two offseasons.
  14. Truck

    Truck Rookie

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    Moss & Stallworth came as one year bargains. I don't believe this case ever came up before.

    Welker also came as 'good value' that doesn't appear every year.
  15. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson Rookie

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    I'd say he's a good, solid piece of #2.
  16. FreakGoDeep

    FreakGoDeep Rookie

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    i think the pats were going after javon walker last year but he ended up in Denver.

    We drafted Chad jackson and the Branch situation didn't go like how the samuel situation went this year.
    So it was just a series of things that screwed up the recieving corps.
  17. sebman2112

    sebman2112 Rookie

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    Yup, and he forgets the Patriots were interested in Walker, but Denver wouldn't let him leave to meet with the Pats. I don't know why I forgot to mention their interest in Walker before.....brain fart I guess :)
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  18. richpats

    richpats Banned

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    I'm not disagreeing with you there but I guarantee if we had survived the AFC title game and brought home #4, we'd still have Reche Caldwell on the roster and not made such a push for our new receivers. I guarantee our talent level would have gone down like in other offseasons after a Lombardi. I mean, we could of had Donte and Randy last year before the trade deadline.
  19. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale Rookie

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    The bolded part says it all. The Patriots didn't go out and get elite WRs. The elite WRs went out and got the Patriots. Moss wanted to play here and took a paycut to do so. Stallworth wanted to play here and accepted a contract that allowed the Pats to get him for one year cheap.

    I liked Welker based on watching him against the Pats and a few times in other Dolphins games. He reminded me a lot of Troy Brown. When the Pats got him for a 2nd and 7th round pick, I thought it was a good trade for both sides. Now having seen Welker in action in conjunction with Moss and Stallworth, it looks like the Pats clearly won this deal.

    Regards,
    Chris
  20. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    I don't get this line of thought. First, when has BB shown that he is hesitant to upgrade the roster of the right opportunity come along?

    Second, neither Randy or Donte were available at the same price. With Moss, it wasn't even close, as Davis was asking for a 1st rounder. With Donte, NE would have had to give up a 4th and another player. This year they got him for peanuts.

    Nothing that NE has done is against what they typically do. They just had more money to spend and had more players that they were willing to spend it on.
  21. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yup, and when we didn't get Walker (after his pal Deion also reportedly called and warned him you won't get your money in NE, and he needed to be signed to an extension or their was no point trading for him) we opted to draft Jackson. Wayne was signed to his deal several weeks earlier BEFORE the start of FA in the midst of the almost collapse of the CBA. In fact it was at that point that Deion apparently set his price in stone as more than the Colts supposed #2.
  22. sebman2112

    sebman2112 Rookie

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    You don't seem to get that part of this was the difference in cost from last offseason to this offseason when it came to securing these players.

    Do you think Stallworth for 1 year (with his having the option of more) was worth a 3rd/4th and Tully Banta-Cain? Looking back now it might seem that way but Banta-Cain played a major role as a rotational OLB for that 2006 NE defense. I'm glad NE has Stallworth now, and I believe he'll be here for the extent of his contract.

    Moss might have been available last year, but at that point Oakland wouldn't have given Moss up for anything less than a first rounder, and they hinted to believing his worth to be even more. Who knows if Moss at that point in his career would have ripped up his rather large contract either. Maybe so, but you don't know if his mindset was quite the same in 2006.
  23. stinkypete

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    That is one of the biggest understatements in recent Pats history. The '05-'06 Pats were the most frustrating team I have ever watched. They were sometimes dominant and capable of a comeback now and then, but absolutely sucked a few games a week and seemed incapable of the magic of previous teams.

    What the Pats did this offseason is restore that feeling of invincibility that followed the '03-'04 teams. We have a team that is generating 16-0 talk and absolutely embarrasing teams on the road. That would not be happening without Moss, Welker, Stallworth, Morris, Brady and Thomas.

    I would say this offseason was our 2nd best in history. If we win the Superbowl or push an undefeated record late into the season, I would go so far as to rank this one #1.
  24. zarakotas5

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  25. Frezo

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  26. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    So we might have Stallworth for a 3rd or or 4th and Banta-Cain and passed!!!! As I recall Moss was also available when we chose to trade for Gabriel. It would have cost us a 1st or a 2nd. Belichick judged Gabriel the better value.

    The reality is that we were fine with Branch, Caldwell and Brown. Obviously losing Branch made the situation worse, but the fact is that Belichick has not thought that Brady needed top receivers.

    We had cap room last year, and even in the past. We didn't make stronger moves because we valued the wide receiver position less than other teams, and less than the market. And the record showed that Belichick was right. Brady can win Super Bowls without top wide receivers.
    ==============

    I certainly believe that there was a change in philosophy after last year. There was a changed attitude toward free agency and particularly regarding the wide receiver position.

    The cap was larger. Players were available. We could have been conservative and waited for a few weeks to get the best VALUE. No, not this time. This time the opportunities would not be passed up. Was Morris a good value at the time? Surely Stallworth's deal was way too much! Washington's deal was crazy! A second for Welker? Many thought that we overpaid at the time. The reality is more than just that the patriots were right in their evaluation. The reality is that the patriots were willing to be the team that OVERPAID to get their man. The difference with us is that we have the best talent evaluators in the league. And of course, it is great that the greatest receiver ever chose to play to play for us for almost nothing.
    =============

    IMHO, Belichick really well understands that the Super Bowl should have been easily ours last year, if just a couple of better personnel decisions were made. And yes, everyone realizes that we almost made it anyway. We were one of three equal teams at the end. We could have been a better team.









  27. FrontSeven

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    Randy would have been here last year if they could have worked out the contract deal with Big Al.

    Deion was supposed to sign last year too. That did not go according to plan. Last year was the anti-perfect storm. This year is the perfect storm.
  28. Absurdly Metro

    Absurdly Metro Rookie

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    In trying to explain the BB's free agent spending spree while at the same time trying to create some silver lining from that bitter AFCCG loss last January I have thought the same thing. I wouldn't guarantee it though. Just an opinion.

    OTOH, if it's true that the Pat's mission statement is something like, "to compete for championships every year," then it would seem contrary to their mission to hold a firesale after securing #4. I guess we'll see. I'm thinking #4 comes in Glendale early next year. Do you think after we win it they'll not re-up for the services of Messrs Moss & Stallworth for another run of sustained excellence in '08?
  29. Absurdly Metro

    Absurdly Metro Rookie

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    Well said.
  30. loosebearing

    loosebearing Rookie

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    But People keep saying that Branch didn't sign here last year.

    That little twerp was under contract and screwed the team.

    Plus with all the rule changes by Polian etc. the game has changed from the mugger of the "skill" players being more valuable to the skill players being more valuable. (First SuperBowl watch film of Willie McGinist, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, and Tebucky Jones legally mugging Holt, Faulk etc.)

    But with the competition committee (is it cheating if the rules are changed to reduce the dominance of elite teams ?) changing rules to make it easier for the "don't hit me" players then the Pats ADAPTED. (All the muggers are gone)
    Finally when Pollian got the needed cap increase for his team the Pats were so far below it that they had open season on veteran players while other teams were still trying to fit their own in under an even Higher cap.

    Bill just keeps Adapting and beating everyone at whatever game they play.
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