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Semi-retirement as a Shadow Roster?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by rookBoston, Jul 4, 2007.

  1. rookBoston

    rookBoston Rookie

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    Here's something that occurred to me, given the tough roster competition this year at so many positions, and a few notable veterans "committed" to the team, but unsigned... namely Testaverdi and Brown.

    Vinnie was taking snaps in TC and has been around Belichick for years. Brown doesn't need snaps-- he knows this offense (and defense) as well as the coaches do.

    Neither one is going to sign with another team. And neither one is likely to see much of the field this year, barring injuries.

    So here's an idea: keep them with the team as role models, training partners... as player-coaches, so to speak. As the 54th and 55th players. Not on the practice squad. Not on the roster. But part of the team, and engaged in regular practice. Viable veteran depth, held off-roster as a safety net. Pay them a salary as part of the staff. Or as consultants. If and when we need them, they're on hand to quickly step in and fill a role. And otherwise, they can influence the young'ens from a position of authority.

    In the past, Belichick carried players like Anthony Pleasant beyond his prime, for the value of his leadership. With the current level of talent on the team, BB doesn't have the same luxury to carry those guys. The 52nd and 53rd players on the roster are going to be promising players like Pierre Woods and Garrett Mills, who are franchise assets, represent the future of the team and need the opportunity to learn.

    Two other veterans in similar but slightly different situations: Junior Seau and Don Davis.

    Seau, in the twilight of his career, is likely to make the roster and play off the bench. But supposing we had drafted a young LB in the first three rounds, Seau would have been deep enough on the roster that it would make sense to put him on the shadow. He's on record saying that if he were to play this year, it would only be for the Pats.

    And, Don Davis who retired from the NFL, is now part of the Pats conditioning staff. I know that he's still in shape, and if asked, could keep himself in game shape during the season, for emergencies.

    All four have lost some of their physical ability, but compensate by knowing the scheme intimately. All are consummate pros who love playing football and being around football. All have made their money, and are attracted to the team, as much by the aura of winning as anything else. If I were running the talent startegy for the team, that's an opportunity to take advantage of.
  2. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    #75 Jersey

    John Hannah will be with the team all year.

    Maroney behind Hannah, we need to make it happen!:D
  3. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    This has been broached many times in the past - and as I've said on occasion I think it would make sense if the NFL would grant a salary cap exemption for such "player-coaches" allowing 10+ year veterans with a team history to remain with a team in a player-coach capacity.... this would help retain positive role models and give some players a jump on joining the coaching ranks - always a good thing especially given the NFL's desire to see more minority coaches.

    In a football sense its not that big a deal as what we're talking about here really are 3rd or 4th string backups.

    However I wouldn't be so sure that either Testeverde or Brown wouldn't have an opportunity with another injury depleted team out of camp or later in the season - nor that they would say "no" to a few hundred thousand dollars out of loyalty to BB and a desire to be available in case he needed them.

    Nor would I assume that Troy Brown - a guy who provides depth at three positions, and therefore actually FREES UP a roster spot by his presence, can't make the team in his own right.

    Don Davis is obviously a coach now - and I can't recall what the process would be for him to end his retirement - though I believe he is coming off an injury himself.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2007
  4. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    He retired because his rehabilatation didn't look promising. Knee. I think.
  5. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This role makes sense for Vinny. He will be the #3 QB for free, and be added to the roster as needed. He'll help work with Guiterrez. He likes the role of guru, coach and general helper. Troy Brown has shown no interest in such a role.
  6. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The issue with this is compensation, say they are listed as position coaches who probably cannot make more than 100K, compare that to the vet minimum.. as much as I like it, does not seem to be viable because of the salary structures. OTOH, might be dependent on the individual's preferences to stay close to the game they have dedicated their lives to.
  7. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's an intriguing idea, but I wonder if there are any league rules or players' union regulations that might interfere with such an arrangement, especially when it comes to practicing regularly with the team. Anyone know?
  8. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I remember someone posting here that the one major downside of having a player-coach is that should the coach become a player, his coaching salary also hits the salary cap.
  9. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    They'd also have to be paid veteran minimum for the year, right? For guys like Testaverde and Brown, that could be significant regarding the cap. It's not like they could be paid on a per-game basis as needed like rent-a-player.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2007
  10. MetalBleachers

    MetalBleachers Rookie

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    This seems to bring up an argument about production over development.
    Let's remember that Seau was very productive (69 tackles in 11 games) as a two-down LB. Beyond Alexander's potential, we shouldn't expect those kinds of numbers from any young MLB on the roster (Lua, Mays, Bissenger?).

    Soooo, by the same token... if Vinnie gets reps, does that take away from Gutierrez's time? With Troy on the roster, what happens when Chad Jackson gets healthy (if, as we expect, he spends time on PUP)?

    You know what? These are nice problems to have. :)
  11. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    While Belichick and Pioli always keep an eye on the future, cap and roster wise, I think when they ultimately construct each seasons team production trumps potential. They evaluate all their players over the course of TC and sometimes injuries crop up that make the decision for them. But if you aren't productive in camp your potential gets weighted against a veterans experience - even if he isn't terribly productive in camp. When they are filling those last 2-3 positions on the roster it's all about value, and only if there is none to be had do they resort to potential. A guy who is currently versatile enough to play 3 or more positions trumps a guy who MIGHT be able to play 1 someday. And a guy with options is more likely to have those exercised than a guy with whom the only option is cutting ties thereby making them a FA

    As for the basic premise of this thread, I think it would constitute a fairly obvious deliberate attempt to circumvent the CBA (both cap wise and roster size wise) and it wouldn't therefore float. Players likely have to be inactive (retired) to accept a management position with a team. There is likely a process involved in un-retiring, which is why many players don't actually file their retirement papers for a year or two - so they can sign on somewhere in a heartbeat if the opportunity arises. Shadow roster players have to by necessity be uncompensated or else they wouldn't be free to be picked up at a moments notice.

    And while non rostered players will come in from time to time to say toss the ball around in non contact mini camps, Vinny likely had to sign a liability waiver and should he show up uncompensated in TC the union would likely file a grievance because although it might represent NBD to Vinny it would represent a huge deal to the union. Even having Troy participate in the off season program as he rehabs here is somewhat unusual because of liability risks, and obviously an indication he and the team have an understanding that if his rehab is successful he will be signed here to a player contract before he sets foot on the field.

    Belichick is paid the big bucks to make roster decisions. Just because some of us anticipate being uncomfortable with those decisions isn't reason to call for wholesale changes in the way the process runs. If another team were perceived to be stashing veteran depth this way we'd likely all be hollering that they're cheating the system. Presuming from a fan vantage point that the viable talent depth is such that there is no room for veterans like Troy is also frankly being presumptious (or applying wishful thinking to the roster process). We have no idea how or if any of these guys are truly developing beyond a fans desire to perceive them all as.

    So I guess my answer to the question posed in the thread title - semi-retirement as a shadow roster? would be yeah, that's called a street FA.

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