posted my absurdly early first Mock Offseason and Draft was posted on December 1. Now, 6 weeks later, the 2009 NFL regular season is over and the deadline for juniors declaring has passed and we know just who will and won't be in the 2010 draft. A lot of things have happened, both good (making the playoffs, winning the division, improvement on the OL) and bad (lategate, 4th quarter meltdowns to Miami and Houston, Wes Welker's injury, and especially the blowout by the Ravens in the playoffs) in the past 6 weeks, some of which may affect our offseason plans. Hopefully the panic which followed the devastating loss to Baltimore has subsided a bit, and we can start to objectively evaluate the talent and commitment of this team and how to get pack to the promised land of an elite team. Pats Offseason Needs 1. Leaders and playmakers anywhere. We really lacked players who stepped up to make the big plays, or to take charge of the team like in the good old days. We need some blue chip playmakers. 2. More imaginative and aggressive coaching, on both sides of the ball. I'd like to see an experienced OC, with O'Brien as QB coach only, and a more aggressive DC than Dean Pees. 3. The pass rush. We've got to be able to get defensive pressure on opposing QBs. 4. Bolster the OL. The right side of the line is just not adequate, and 4 of our top 6 linemen are 30 or older. 5. Bolster the DL. The loss of Seymour was a big one, and there was no major playmaking presence on the DL. The run defense was mediocre. 6. Depth at RB, WR and TE. I think the Pats will be extremely aggressive this offseason. I suspect BB will bring in some coaching talent so that he doesn't have to do it all by himself, and that the Pats will be aggressive in FA and the draft. We're not restricted by the rules for an uncapped year. Mike Lombardi says we are currently one of the lowest committed cash teams in the NFL, and the Krafts have always been willing to spend up to the cap limit. I think that 2009 was unacceptable by Patriot standards, and that the team will be aggressive (but selective) in the offseason. Coaching Staff: Nick Caserio takes over as offensive coordinator. Floyd Reese takes over Scott Pioli's old role, if he doesn't leave for Seattle. If Reese leaves, Mike Lombardi, Phil Savage or George Kokinis is brought in to replace him. Dick Jauron is brought in as defensive coordinator, working closely with Mike Patricia, with the plan of eventually making Patricia the DC in a few years (and WIllie McGinest the LB coach). Free Agency: I think the Pats will move to lock up their key players first, and then fill some key roles externally. Internal FAs: 1. Pats franchise and then re-sign Vince Wilfork to a long term deal, and also re-sign UFAs, Leigh Bodden, and Ben Watson. This saves the Pats from addressing DT, TE and CB as major needs. I see Wilfork getting something like 5 years @45M, and Bodden something like 4 years at $25M. Watson could be let go if he won't sign a reasonable deal, and a UFA FA signed in his place. 2. Pats tender RFA K Stefan Gostkowski at the 1st round level. Hopefully he gets a long term extension. 3. Pats tender RFA OG Logan Mankins at the highest level (1st and 3rd). Hopefully he gets a long term extension. 4. The Pats need to lock up TBC as well, as it appears his extension from earlier this year was not valid. Kevin Faulk has said he wants to be back, and I think he is re-signed for 1-2 years at reasonable cost. Stephen Neal is undecided about his future. He could retire, or it's possible the team could convince him to stay for another year at low cost. I think that the Pats will likely let Pierre Woods go, or at best bring him in to fight for a roster spot. I suspect Jarvis Green will not be retained. They could re-sign Derrick Burgess for low money, but I personally would prefer other options (see below). I think Adalius Thomas won't be back with the team, one way or another. Some other players under contract could be cost/value decisions. I think the team will ruthlessly assess every play and every position in the offseason. External FAs: 1. Pats sign UFA WR Antonio Bryant (Tampa Bay) for 4 years at $28M. Bryant will be an ideal #2 behind Moss, and will take the pressure off of Edelman and Tate having to produce big time, or Welker rushing back. If Bryant is viewed as too risky, re-signing Deion Branch for relatively small money (maybe 3 years at $6M or thereabouts) would be an alternative. 2. Pats sign UFA LB Karlos Dansby (Arizona) for 5 years at $35M. Dansby will play SILB and allow Mayo to play his natural weakside, and can also play OLB. Pats could possibly re-sign OLB Derrick Burgess for 1-2 years if the cost is not high, or let him go. 3. Baltimore cuts RB Willis McGahee in a cost cutting move, and the Pats sign him to replace Fred Taylor (3 years at $14M would seem reasonable). McGahee will be 29, and at 6' 230# can provide the big bruising back that we need. I think he would start for us, whereas he would be a backup to Ray Rice in Baltimore. 4. Pats re-sign UFA DE/OLB Willie McGinest to provide some veteran leadership and help develop some young pass rushers. This is a low cost move akin to the Junior Seau situation. I could also see signing OLB Quentin Groves, if he is cut by Jacksonville (as expected) in the off-season. Groves can fight it out with Crable, Ninkovich, Bruce Davis and possibly Woods for depth at OLB. He probably has more upside than any of them, despite his struggles in Jacksonville, so I think it's worth bringing him in if he gets cut. Either of these would be low cost, low profile signings - if either one happens fine, if not, no big deal. Pre-Draft Trades: - Pats trade LB Adalius Thomas and a 2011 conditional pick to Kansas City for #68. Thomas is still one of the better OLBs in the league, and someone will bite. Draft Day Trades: - Pats trade #42, 47 and 118 (1000 points) Atlanta for #19 and #83 (1050 points). See below for discussion. And now, on to the draft (continued in next post for size limitation reasons).