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Pats Offseason Review - Free agents

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  1. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Doing 3-4 roster updates regarding the Patriots between seasons has become somewhat of a ritual for me. And, because it has, I feel that I need to take some time to thank some people because without them, I wouldn’t have learned half the stuff I know about things such as the Salary Cap, Franchising and Needs analysis.

    First and foremost, I have to thank Ian. Ian, without you, none of this would be possible. You have, by far, the best run Patriots fan website out there. I said it before and I’ll say it again, The Krafts bringing legal action against you instead of hiring you as their website developer is one of the few business mistakes that they have made.

    Next, I have to thank Miguel. Without Miguel’s diligent work for his site Patscap.com over the past decade, I’d been a kindergartner in terms of understanding the salary cap. Miguel, you do amazing work and without your work, most of us wouldn’t know what the hell the franchise tag was, let alone be able to forecast things like comp picks and salaries. Thank you.

    I’d like to also say thanks to Pats1, JoeSixPack, AndyJohnson (you need to post more man), Box_O_Rocks (glad you came back),Rob0729 PatsFanKen, and MoLewisRocks, TheKraftyOne, and TankedasUsual because you all keep it real and very rarely let me get away with spouting BS :p I’d also like to thank OchmedJones for his insights on draftees. Oh, I’d also like to thanks Briz and the Trolls for they entertainment value.

    I am going to do Off-season 2009 and Off-season 2010 a bit differently because of the enormous number of free agents that will be on the market. There will be 4 sections to my review. Free Agency, Offense, Defense, Special Teams.

    If you’d told me at the start of the 2008 season the Patriots would end up putting 15 players on the IR, 8 of them being starters or primary reserves, I’d have called you NUTS. If someone had told me that the Patriots would still put up an 11-5 season with 15 people on the IR, I’d have said you were smoking some of the Ricky’s old stash. Well, it’s a good thing no one said that, cause I’d be eating crow right now.


    There are some big questions heading into this off-season. The Patriots have 18 players who are UFAs and 3 RFA and could be looking at having to replace their OC (Josh McDaniels) and possibly the man who has as much to do with the Patriots run of success as Bill Belichick in Scott Pioli.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  2. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Free Agency:

    UFA:
    Matt Cassel – Many people wrote Matt off during pre-season and had him amongst the first cuts. Cassel proved to be better than anyone’s wildest dreams. When Brady went down, Matt came in. There were people calling for Kevin O’Connell to take over every week. Each week, Cassel weathered the storm. If not for Matt Cassel, the Patriots would be picking in the top 5 of the draft. People have been speculating since mid October that the Pats would end up franchising him and, as recently as January 1st, those rumors were picking up steam. Cassel is a hot commodity because he’s conquered a lot of adversity and pulled this team together and became a leader. It wasn’t smoke and mirrors. He’s the real thing, much to the chagrin of some people.

    The likelihood is that Cassel gets franchised and traded. Where he ends up is the $15 million dollar question. And a lot will depend on what happens with Josh McDaniels and possibly Scott Pioli.

    Potential places that Cassel could land include Detroit, Chicago, Tennessee, Minnesota, Seattle, St. Louis, NY Jets, San Francisco and Tampa Bay.


    Rosevelt Colvin, LB - Rosie was cut during the last off-season because he couldn’t pass his physical. He signed on with the Texans, but never made it out of camp. He had a tryout with the Colts, but they didn’t sign him. And then, he was back with the Pats, signing at the end of November when the corp lost Thomas and Pierre Woods and had youngster Vince Redd pull up lame. Colvin could be back on a try-out basis.

    Heath Evans, FB –
    Evans has gotten better every year as a blocker, though I don’t feel he’s a great lead blocker. By the end of the year the Pats had taken to using Russ Hochstein as the lead FB on short yardage situations.

    Jabar Gaffney, WR-
    Gaffney had another solid, but not spectacular year for the Patriots. He was invisible for much of the 1st half of the season, putting up 22 of his 38 receptions in a 7 game span. Gaffney may be re-signed, but I expect that his production is easily replaced. There are some good WRs available in free agency in Antonio Bryant, Bryant Johnson, and Shaun McDonald. And that’s not including players that teams decided to part with.

    Chris Hanson, P –
    Hanson went about his job and proceeded to put up a very respectable season. Hanson only punted 5 more times this year than last year, but he improved in the following areas: Kicks in side the 20 – 19 (+6 over 2007), Fair Catches – 13 (+5 over 2007), Average Yardage – 43.7 (+2.4 yards). He did kick four more TBs this year than last and he had one fewer kick OOB than last year. So not everything was rosy.

    Rodney Harrison, SS –
    Rodney suffered a devastating tear in his quad muscle and this could be the end for the hard-hitting safety we’ve all come to love so dearly. If he were to come back, I can’t see it being anything more than a 1 year deal. But, after contemplating retirement each of the last few seasons, I think that Rodney will listen to his body.

    Russ Hochstein, C/G/FB/TE –
    Russ Hochstein proved to be valuable again with his versatility by lining up as a FB and a TE this year. He started off the season slow and injured, which allowed Billy Yates to see a lot of time at RG for the oft-injured Stephen Neal. Neither is truly the solution there though. Hochstein is 31 and I expect him to re-sign with the Patriots.

    Larry Izzo, LB -
    Izzo has been “on his way out” from the Pats for about 4 years now. Even I had him gone a couple of times. Yet, he’s worse than the Cat that came back… Izzo has survived and continued to be productive as the special teams Captain. If you’d asked me at the beginning of the year whether this would be his last, I’d have said yes, in a heartbeat because of Pierre Woods. However, Woods is a RFA and he is coming off of a Jaw injury that cost him 4 games.

    Lamont Jordan, RB –
    Jordan had an up and down season upon signing with the Pats this year. People were very excited about him coming out of TC. Jordan had a good game against the Jets in the 2nd week of the season and it continue to give people hope. Then Jordan was out for 9 weeks with an injuyry, finally coming back to finish the last 4 games of the season. As I think about it, I think that Jordan was somewhat showcased at the end of the season to help him catch on with another team. The Pats could bring him back next year, but I think its much more likely that they bring in someone to develop into the next Kevin Faulk while letting Maroney, Morris, Faulk and BJGE handle the running duties.

    Deltha O'Neal, CB – Deltha had a few good plays, but its clear he’s not the solution for the Pats going forward. O’Neal lost his starting position a couple times this season. First to Wheatley, who then got injured 2 games later, and then to Wilhite. I don’t see the Pats bringing him back.

    Lonnie Paxton, LS -
    Mr.Tattoo himself. He’s a great guy. I hope the Patriots bring him back on a long term deal. However, Lonnie was a UFA last year and only signed a one year deal for the base minimum and a 150K signing bonus. That’s well paid for a long snapper, but the length of the contract is somewhat concerning. Lonnie had just come off a 5 year contract that paid him very well. The Patriots had cap money they could have used on him for a longer contract. Why didn’t they? It will be interesting to see what happens..
    James Sanders, S – Belichick and that coaching staff started off 2007 saying that Sanders made their jobs easier and harder because he gave them 3 starting caliber safeties. Sanders is solid. He has his flaws and does his best to play within them. I’d like to see him back as a depth player or holding the safety spot until another player is ready, but I wouldn’t be surprised either if Sanders walks.


    Lewis Sanders, CB/S –
    Lewis Sanders stepped in as the Nickel back when the Pats were having issues with Wheatley there, and then stepped in when Wheatley went down. Sanders then took over for James Sanders at the safety spot for 2 games while James was out with an injury. This was a JAG signing last year that paid decently. I’d like to see him back to provide depth at CB/S and on Special teams.
    Junior Seau, LB – The ageless ILB. Junior was brought back with 4 games to go when Adalius Thomas and Pierre Woods went on the IR. This move was to allow the team to move Guyton to the OLB spot for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately, even the best laid plans get messed up. Tedy Bruschi went down with a season ending knee injury and Guyton pulled up lame as well. This forced Seau into the starting ILB role next to Mayo for the last 3 weeks of the season. Junior played well enough but the Pats need to get younger at ILB. If Junior comes back, it will be at the end of TC.

    Kenny Smith, DE -
    Kenny WHO? J/K. Smith got hurt in training camp and was put on the IR. I don’t see them bringing Kenny Smith back due to the progress of LeKevin Smith.

    Tank Williams, S – *
    Tank was well on his way to earning a spot on this team before suffering the season ending injury during pre-season. Williams would have been the primary back-up behind Harrison had he made the team. If he can pass the physical and show the same kind of aggressive play, I’d love to see him back.

    Mike Wright, D –
    This guy had been simply amazing. He made the team as a UDFA 4 years ago. He’s played NT and DE for them. He was one of their best Special teamers during the 1st 2 years of his career prior to getting injured. Since he came back, he’s not be out on special teams, but he’s been on the field in many Nickel situations, especially after Warren suffered his groin injury. I’d love to see Wright back on a deal similar to Jarvis Green, but, as others have pointed out, Mike Wright could start on teams like the Colts, Broncos and Cinncinnati as a 4-3 DE.
     
  3. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    RFA:

    Wesley Britt, OT – Britt was once the Pats top reserve swing tackle. Now, he seems to be on his way out. Particularly with the development of Mark LaVoir, who quickly supplanted Britt in the OT depth chart. I don’t see the Patriots tying up over a million bucks for a #4/#5 tackle.


    Eric Alexander, LB – The last two years have been horrible for Alexander. He’s spent more time with the training staff the rest of the players, combined. Ok. That’s not entirely true. I believe that Alexander won’t be tendered a contract because Guyton has replaced him and is doing what Alexander couldn’t. And that is playing decent coverage against opposing TEs, while also being decent against the run.

    Pierre Woods, LB – Pierre seemed to be on the right track this year. His playing time in the OLB rotation increased. He was seeing regular time in the Nickel sub-packages. And he got the starting nod opposite Vrabel when Thomas went out. Woods was solid, but not spectacular in the 2 games he started at LOLB before his jaw was broken. That injury landed Woods on the IR. I think that Woods was well on his way to earning a 1st round tender offer, but the injury curtailed it. I expect him to land a 2nd round tender from the Pats. Whether he stays with the Pats or goes elsewhere depends on how many 3-4 teams there end up being after all the coaching changes occur throughout the league.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  4. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That's a great effort, Dabruinz.
    I thought that Lemont would stick with the team.
    Sure he was injured but so was Maroney.
    When Lemont did play he played well.
    It just might be Maroney that gets released.
    I hope not cause I like LoMo and I think if he can recover
    from his injury, he'll do real well for us.
    Maybe BB we'll go with all of them again.
     
  5. tanked_as_usual

    tanked_as_usual Banned

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    DB........no matter how many times I argue with you, as the great coach Boone said in ''remember the titans'', ..... you're hall of fame in my book

    now I will actually read your analysis
     
  6. patsox23

    patsox23 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Love it, appreciate the work - a ton. The following stuck out to me:

    1) I find it hard to believe the Patriots would ever "showcase" a player except for a trade. They played Jordan b/c they NEEDED Jordan and he was (finally) healthy.

    2) Would like to see Colvin back as depth.

    3) I'd be surprised if they don't wrap up Woods to a decent long-term deal. "Luckily," he got hurt so that perhaps lowers his leverage somewhat.

    4) Tank Williams, take two, please - I totally agree.

    5) Mike Wright as "guy who could start for lots of teams" - a bit hyperbolic, methinks.

    6) As devastating as the injury was to Rodney - both physically and, more important, psychologically/emotionally - I think he surprises everyone and comes back ("with" Brady) for one more year.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  7. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey


    Actually, Lamont only played well in one game against a quality team and that was against the Jets. His YPC is jacked up because of the game against the pathetic Raiders. Discounting the Raiders game, Jordan had 68 rushes for 266 yards. That gives him a 3.91 YPC. And he didn't catch anything out of the backfield.

    Maroney isn't going to get released. He's too affordable and, when healthy, is a good back.

    I believe that Jordan will sign somewhere else. If he's brought back, it will be as camp fodder because I believe Lawfirm to be a better compliment to Maroney and Morris.
     
  8. tanked_as_usual

    tanked_as_usual Banned

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    Cassel:
    I am not as big of a cassel fan as most people are.......let's just say it would be smart for the pats get as much for him as possible.......I also don't think cassel showed anything this year that could be largely produced by any other QB the pats have on their roster....nothing personal against cassel sinceI do believe he's a good person and a good teammate.......I'll look at it this way: if they could get cassel to do what he did this year, then the future of kevin o'connell is literally unlimited

    I would narrow future places for cassel to the chicago, MN, Tenn, SF, TB......I don't see the lions simply because they are too bad, and I dont believe the jets because they won't want a guy the pats defense already knows

    Jordan:
    I'd bring him back if the pats could get a 2nd rounder for maroney

    Wright:
    Green is due a 2M roster bonus next season......dump him, and give the money to a younger wright and then use a day 2 pick to backfill (Macdonald of Memphis)
     
  9. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No Jersey Selected

    Good analysis, DB. I think Tank, if he's back with the team next season, will likely step into Rodney's spot. I'd love to see him do it too. The guy hits like a mack truck. And safety seems to be where he is more comfortable at considering the experiment with him at LB failed.
     
  10. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    The Patriots showcased Pollard during his last pre-season game with them in an effort to try and help him hook on with another team. The Patriots didn't NEED Jordan. They got along just fine with BJGE and Faulk when Jordan and Morris were both out. This is my preference, but I felt that BJGE should have been out there instead of Jordan during the last 4 games.

    Colvin could be back. It all depends on how he rates out, how the young players rate out, and how the Pats rate out the players available in the draft. Colvin definitely didn't do anything that should hurt his chances of re-signing.

    Is it really hyperbole? Wright played extremely well down the stretch. And there are plenty of teams hurting for quality 4-3 DEs.



    If Rodney comes back, I'll accept him with open arms.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  11. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Thanks Tanked. You're right up there to. And, honestly, you and TheKraftyOne pushed me to increase my knowledge of Patriots and football in general. You two can blame yourselves for the way I am :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  12. DocE

    DocE Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Nice Breakdown, I agree with most of your thoughts.

    Tank Williams- This was the 3rd season ending knee injury of Tank's career, and I think he'd have to be considered a major long shot to come back from it.

    Mike Wright- I'd love to have him back, but I don't think it's realistic to pay 5 d lineman good contracts when you only start 3. Then again, the Pats value line play, so maybe they will shell out the cash...I certainly wouldn't be against a Jarvis Green sized contract.
     
  13. 124

    124 On the Roster

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    Would LOVE to see Jabar Gaffney join the Jets. He's had a couple of drops, that Indy one earlier in the season being the big one, but I'd love to see the Jets part ways with Crybaby Coles and draft a WR (Nicks? Crabtree?) team him with Jerricho Cotchery, David Clowney and Gaffney. In the end I think Jabar re-signs with New England.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  14. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No Jersey Selected

    Yep. I can't see Gaffney going to the Jets. He even said himself that his value in New England is only that high because of outstanding quarterback play. He just simply wouldn't be getting that from the Jets.
     
  15. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Kontradiction - looking at 124's posts, I think he is a JETS fan...
     
  16. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No Jersey Selected

    Yeah, I know...
     
  17. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    Excellent thread! Should this be a sticky? Let me know and I'll do it.
     
  18. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    James Sanders should be back cheap. He is starting caliber, but had a slow season last year. I dont think he'll sign on somewhere else and get the same opportunity like he has on the Pats.

    I like the idea of bringing back Colvin to battle it out in TC. No one else wants him so a prove it deal could be in line.
     
  19. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    If You'd like to sticky it until February, that's cool..
    If you do this one, could you do the other two as well.

    And I promise that I'll be nice.. I'll just put certain people on ignore *GRIN*
     
  20. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think Tank Williams will be back if he is healthy enough. I think Belichick really wants that hybrid safety/LB especially in the red zone and third and shorts. Those areas were killers this past year.

    I hope Wright is back and wonder if he is resigned if it spells the end of Jarvis Green due to his high cap hit. I think Wright could start on several teams, but probably only a handful.

    I think Colvin has something left and if he is willing to be a rotational guy for shorter money, I would love to have him back.

    The only RFA I see back is Woods, but I could be wrong.

    I think Rodney will retire. I don't think he wants to go through another grueling rehab offseason and most of the indications point to him retiring. I think Seau will retire too and stay retired.

    Cassel will be franchised and traded. The Pats will sign a veteran to back up Brady and compete with O'Connell.

    I think Gaffney, Hochstein, Izzo, and Paxton will be resigned for short money.

    I think James Sanders may leave. I think the Pats will try to resign him, but I don't know if they will make a strong effort to.
     
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