Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by jmt57, Jan 26, 2013.
Patriots to sign another from CFL - Extra Points - Boston.com
so this is our FA
Pats are facing a very tough cap situation, so loading up on cheap bodies seems to be a priority. This seems to be totally different from Armstead, however. Armstead is a legitimate talent who slipped for medical reasons, and who has a ton of upside. Vega sounds like your basic UDFA pickup. Hopefully he'll be a good one, but I'm not particularly optimistic. Maybe he'll become a "Ninkovich" in time, but it's a long shot, and I doubt he'll make a huge immediate impact. But hopefully I'm wrong.
Keep em' coming.
Any good deep threats up there? Safety's?
I don't know if this was posted in the Armstead thread but here is Reiss interviewing the Args GM about him.
Argonauts GM on Armstead - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston
I think you are being a "little" pessimistic, brother Mayo. At a quick glance he has the length, weight and raw speed to be an excellent pick up.
Certainly he doesn't bring the hype of the Armstead signing, which was a real coup. But you should know better to dismiss these below the radar signings like this completely. Take it from someone who thought Rob Ninkovich's best chance to make the final roster was as a long snapper, that Julian Edelman was a wasted pick, and Brandon Boldin had NO chance to make the final roster,
Besides he might be the last chance for someone from the Northeastern football program to play in the NFL. Hard not to root for that.
I'm not pessimistic, Ken. But I don't think this is at all analogous to Armstead, who I think is a stud who will compete for significant playing and possible starting time from the outset. Vega will get a chance to compete along with other guys, and if he earns a roster spot, so much the better. But it's a long shot, and I don't have high hopes for him. If he bucks the odds, so much the better.
Our DE depth list right now looks something like the following:
1. Chandler Jones. 6' 5" 270#. Starting RDE
2. Rob Ninkovich. 6' 2" 260#. Was our starting LDE in 2012. I think he'll share time with Armstead at LDE, and possibly also play some standing up.
3. Armond Armstead. 6' 5" 298#. I think he'll be targeted for the role that BB wanted Shaun Ellis to play in 2011.
4. Jermaine Cunningham. 6' 3" 260# (though he may be heavier).
5. Justin Francis. 6' 2 3/8" 272#.
6. Jake Bequette. 6' 4 1/2" 275#.
7. Marcus Benard. 6' 2" 256#.
8. Tracy Robertson. 6' 4" 280#.
9. Jason Vega. 6' 4" 255#.
I assume it's very unlikely that Travis Scott will be back.
All of these guys are 25 or under except for Ninkovich, who turns 29 on Friday, and Benard, who turns 28 in July. It wouldn't shock me to see one of the guys from the 3rd tier of players move up into the 2nd tier, with either Cunningham or Bequette getting axed if they don't pan out. BB believes in competition, and in Darwinian survival of the fittest.
About the same size as Ninkovich, we can hope..
2013 New England Patriots
Defensive Tackles under contract:
Defensive Ends under contract:
Linebackers under contract:
I would venture that five defensive tackles and five defensive ends on the 53 man roster should suffice:
DT: Wilfork, Love, Deaderick, Armstead, Pryor
Practice Squad: Forston
DE: Jones, Francis, Ninkovich, Cunningham, Bequette/Bernard/Vega
Practice Squad: None
Current status of the linebacker corps not currently under contract:
UFA: White, Koutouvides
I don't think this has anything to do with the cap whatsoever. The Pats are in decent cap shape. They aren't really in a position to make a huge splash, but they have plenty of money to make some moves and can free up more with restructures or extensions to Brady, Mankins, and Wilfork.
Every year at this time, teams pick up players for future contracts. These players include street free agents and players from other leagues.
Armstead might be a little different than that because he probably would have been a high draft pick out of SC if not for his heart attack. But Vega is no different than the players who got futures contracts last winter or the winter before that or the winter before that.
I know 0 about him. Wonder if he showed something in the coverage game that stood out to the scouts? Certainly a project, but then again so was Neal and Vrabel and they turned out ok.
More of a gone fishing pick. Sometimes your surprised what you reel in. Is your line caught up in the rocks and you got to cut it loose or is that a Striper Bass tugging on the end.
Another signing that seems to make more sense for the 3-4 than the 4-3....
Jason Vega highlights:
Jason Vega Highlights.wmv - YouTube
Has some speed to him. And I concur with Deus, looks more like a 3-4 OLB than a DE.
It's worth noting that the Pats are systematically adding low cost depth to their roster for 2013. This seems to be phase I of their offseason plan. I believe that they had only 39 players under contract for 2013 a few weeks ago. Right now the number stands at 54:
QB(3): Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Mike Kafka
RB(4): Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, Jeff Demps
FB(2): Spencer Larsen, James Develin (the Pats also retain the rights to Tony Fiammetta for 2013)
WR(5): Brandon Lloyd, Matt Slater, Jeremy Ebert, Andre Holmes, Kamar Aiken
TE(3): Ron Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells, Brad Herman (Michael Hoomanawanui is a RFA and Jake Ballard an ERFA)
OT(4): Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Markus Zukevics, Kyle Hix
OG/C(5): Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald
DT(4): Vince Wilfork, [Armond Armstead], Kyle Love, Brandon Deaderick, Marcus Forston (the Pats also have the rights to Myron Pryor for 2013)
DE(9): Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Armond Armstead, Jermaine Cunningham, Justin Francis, Jake Bequette, Marcus Benard, Tracy Robertson, Jason Vega
LB(5): Jerod Mayo, Dont'a Hightower, Brandon Spikes, Mike Rivera, Jeff Tarpinian (Dane Fletcher is a RFA)
S(4): Devin McCourty, Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner
CB(3): Alfonzo Dennard, Ras-I Dowling, Malcolm Williams
ST(3): Stevan Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Danny Aiken
There are 5 players listed who are either RFAs, ERFAs, or to whom the Patriots hold the rights by virtue of their having missed time such that their contracts did not expire at the end of 2012: TEs Michael Hoomanawanui and Jake Ballard, FB Tony Fiammetta, DT Myron Pryor, and LB Dane Fletcher. Adding those guys would put the Pats at 59 players. These guys should all be low cost, and should have a decent shot at competing for roster spots, so I suspect they will be re-signed.
The thinnest positions from the point of view of simply fielding a team are CB and WR, followed by OL.
I'm guessing that phase II of the off-season plan would involve possible restructing some contracts, or deciding whether to cut any current players, in order to free up cap space, and then address some re-signings.
Given the two CFL signings, this seems an appropriate thread to ask....
Do you think Cunningham makes it to camp?
As for contract restructures, the following are feasible salary cap maneuvers:
Convert Tom Brady's roster bonus to a signing bonus. Cap savings for 2013 NFL Season will be $2.5 million. Cap increase for the 2014 NFL Season will be $2.5 million.
Convert $4.5 million of Logan Mankins base salary to a signing bonus. Amortized over three seasons, cap savings for the 2013 NFL Season will be $3 million. Cap increase for the 2014 NFL Season will be $1.5 million.
As for the 2014 NFL Season, cut Daniel Fells and Steve Gregory. Cap savings will be $4 million and the equivalent of the cap increases due to the aforementioned restructured contracts.
As of a few weeks ago the Pats were about $20M under the cap but had only 39 players under contract. They now have 54 players under contract (56 if you consider that Myron Pryor and Tony Fiammetta are still under contract), at relatively little incremental increase.
It's deceptive to say that the Pats are in "decent cap shape". They need to field a full team, and they are woefully thin at CB, WR and OL right now. They don't have enough money to resign their own FAs without significant cuts or restructuring.
BB addressed the "illusion" of salary cap space recently:
Patriots and salary cap space - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston
I think that the Pats are adding as much low-cost depth to their roster as they can right now, to set themselves up for the next stage. Low cost depth is critically important in the salary cap era. The more of those guys who actually make the team and produce, the better.
Makes it to camp? Sure. His 2013 cap hit is only $960K, and cutting him saves only $630K. I'm not sure there's enough benefit to cutting him now.
Makes it through camp? That's much less likely. Anyone who steps up can probably bump him off the roster.
Makes it to a second contract? I wouldn't want to bet a rusty nickel on it.
Numerically, Mankins would seem to be an easy restructure and could free up a fair amount of cap space. Brady is a bit less cut and dry, IMO. Because of what it would mean for next year's cap, I don't see much value in reworking his deal unless they've already decided that they're going to keep him around and intend to work out an extension by early next offseason.
I think the Pats should try and trade Fells now for some minimal consideration if they can get it, because realistically I don't see the value of keeping him on the roster if they re-sign both Ballard and Hoomanawanui. They won't likely carry more than 4 TEs, and Fells was behind Hooman on the depth chart. Cutting him frees up almost $1M this year, and $1.85M in 2014.
Your 2 restructurings would free up $5.5M. Add $1M from Fells and you have an additional $6.5M in cap space, which might cover the 2013 cap hit of one of the 3 major re-signings depending on how the contract was structured.
I've also suggested that Gostkowski and Connolly could be candidates for restructuring or pay cuts. Both make over $3.3M this year and over $3.8 next year. That seems like an awful lot to spend. Both are fine players, but there may need to be some brutal decision making over the next month or so. I also wonder if they might try and tack on another year to Brandon Lloyd's deal and knock his numbers down some ($4.5M in 2013, $5.5M in 2014).
Regardless, I think the Pats have some work to do to manage their cap situation in order to move forward, and I think these kind of cheap depth signings are an important part of the process. If any one of them pans out, it works out great for the team.
Would we want to even keep Hooman, considering he's not very good?
I'm not sure if the New England Patriots could even fetch a seventh round draft pick for Daniel Fells.
Cutting Fells would seem to imply that Ballard's looking good in his rehab. I'm not sure they'd make that move before being comfortable with what would be the remaining option(s). I could be wrong on that, of course, but I think they're probably wary of being too thin at that position after the past 2 seasons.
He should be gone. They either need a real fullback or a better H-back.
He was good enough to be ahead of Fells on the depth chart, at a much lower price. Whether there are other options remain to be seen.
I'd personally favor getting someone like Kyle Juszczyk as a fullback/H-back, and go with Gronk/Ballard as the in-line TE and Hernandez/Juszczyk as the move TE, with Juczczyk also taking the fullback spot. He showed soft hands and good blocking at the Senior Bowl, and nice ability to be a receiver both out of the backfield and in motion. He reportedly has 4.5+ speed, though we'll find out for sure in a month.
I'm inclined to agree. After watching him get ragdolled against the Ravens, and considering he offers essentially nothing in the passing game, I see no reason to keep the guy.
An endorsement of Hooman, or an indictment of Fells?
UhOh doesn't really play the same position that Fells does, though. Fells is a true TE, while UhOh is Garrett Mills.
In my view the Patriots ran in 2012 and will continue to run moving forward the same type of 3-4 over/under defense that Saban runs at Alabama that most call a 4-3.
3-4 Jack LB
(Sort of undecided as to if I see Cunningham more as a DE or Jack LB)
Ninkovich, Benard and Vega all have the ideal skill set for a Jack LB because they're capable of setting the edge as a DE, pass rushing as a DE or OLB and dropping into coverage. I'm especially excited for Benard IMO he was a great pickup who was coming into his own under Mangini and then regressed in switch to a straight 4-3.
I see this pickup and Benard as more of a commitment to specific players for specific assignments and not as much moving pieces in 2013/14.
What stuck out about Hoom that you view him this way? IMO he filled his role as a FB/TE well but maybe I missed something.
He's far too inconsistent, IMO. There were games where he played at such a poor level that he didn't look like he belonged anywhere near the NFL. Most of that was early on, but his game against the Ravens seemed to sum up far too much of his Patriots tenure for my liking.
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