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The 2011 Veteran acquisitions in review

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patchick, Jan 24, 2012.

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  1. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Having just seen a couple of unrelated threads that descended into bashing the Ochocinco & Haynesworth signings, I took a moment and made a list of the significant veterans signed in this offseason who played in at least one game. Here's what I came up with:

    Mark Anderson
    Andre Carter
    Shaun Ellis
    Albert Haynesworth
    Matt Light
    Logan Mankins
    Chad Ochocinco
    Gerard Warren
    Brian Waters

    That's 9 players including 4 key starters and 1 semi-starter for a Superbowl team, and only 1 (Mankins) was a long-term, big-money commitment.

    For perspective, I tried to compile a comparable list for 2010. Can this really be all?

    Alge Crumpler
    Gerard Warren
    Vince Wilfork

    It sure looks like the combo of the nonexistent offseason, compressed FA period and shortened camp led to a strategic decision to throw a ton of mid-priced veterans into the mix and see who floated to the top. On balance, I'd call the strategy a clear success. How about you?
     
  2. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    I totally agree. I know everyone expects 100% perfection all the time, and BB is no different, but realistically, we really did well all things considered.

    I always associate player acquisitions with poker, since it is always a bit of a gamble. But for many of these signings, they were low-risk, high-reward scenarios where we didn't have to bet much, lost a few hands, but got huge payouts on the hands we did win.

    Yes, Haynesworth didn't work out and Ocho hasn't done much. But more people were more excited about those moves than Andre Carter or Mark Anderson, though they really were the same type of bets.

    For around $10M and a 5th round pick in 2013, we got 5 DL players that combined for 22 sacks and 67 tackles. That's less than some top DL earn for half that production.

    We gambled $2M on Brian Waters. He could have been washed-up. Maybe the side switch would be too much. Maybe he wouldn't fit in, since a similar organization in KC decided they were done with him. But it worked, and we got a Pro Bowl RG for less than our kicker made.

    Everyone rips the Haynesworth deal but it easily could have turned out that Al worked out, and maybe Carter was too old. Or maybe Anderson. These are all gambles, and you can't gamble and expect to win every single time. But we got more than our money's worth, well more than anyone could reasonably expect, and to complain about the one or two lost hands while ignoring the entire body of work is just ridiculous.
     
  3. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No Jersey Selected


    Hits:
    Waters
    Carter (boy do I miss him)
    Anderson
    Warren (barely; but for the same $, who else was avail.?)

    Misses:
    Ellis (not that much worse than Warren, but for the $$$ he makes, def. a miss)
    Fat Albert (a waste of time & a draft pick, but at least he didn't cost us as much as...)
    Ocho-feckin-Stinko ($5.5M AND 2 draft picks?!? for 1 goddamned catch per game?)

    I don't consider Light & Mankins in this group because they were long-time vets of this organization
    who re-signed.

    What makes the Ellis & Stinko signings even worse than the Haynesworthless signing is the possibility
    of finding players at those 2 positions who could've provided better production at much less cost.

    To be fair, adding cast-offs Polite, McDonald, Thomas, Aiken, Diggy, Nate Jones, Molden & esp. Moore
    should also be taken into consideration, with only Kid 'n Play, Koutouvides & Mal Williams in the group
    who should thank Bill every day for being given an NFL paycheck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  4. Patriot_in_NY

    Patriot_in_NY Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    You could probably add Deion Branch into last years total. I know he came in mid-season, but we did have to go out of our way to get him.
     
  5. Jared

    Jared On the Game Day Roster

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    #75 Jersey

    Why do fans get so upset about how much money a guy like Ellis is making on a one year contract? It isn't like it is the fan's money.

    Complaining about large signing bonuses or bad draft picks I can understand, as they can prevent the team from improving in the future, but who cares about the salary of a veteran on a one year contract, especially when the team isn't really hurting for cap space.
     
  6. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Mankins I can see because of cap issues, but Light? It was nothing like a sure thing to resign him, especially after using the #1 pick on an OT.

    Regardless, if you drop those two you clearly drop Wilfork from the previous year's list, so the main point remains: this crop of veterans was unusual and looks like a strategic decision to shop in bulk and sort out the wheat from the chaff as the season developed.

    So there were a bunch of quality veteran DEs hanging around for cheap who the Patriots DIDN'T sign? :confused: Because the way I remember it, we were all laughing during TC that they were trying to conquer the market on veteran linemen. And the 3 DEs they did sign for a total of $7.7 million and almost no future cap implications combined for 21 sacks.
     
  7. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No Jersey Selected

    Who would've provided us better production than Ellis & Stinko? Yes.
     
  8. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey


    Ah, cap'n we can always count on you! I start a thread with the premise that everybody keeps screaming and getting red in the face about Ocho, but if you step back and look at the full scope of veteran acquisitions it's unusual and interesting...

    And you respond with "bbbbut...Ocho! OCHO!!! :enranged:"

    :D

    Here's a useful exercise: list all the teams that made better, more impactful and more cost-effective total veteran acquisitions than the Patriots this offseason.
     
  9. Uncle Rico

    Uncle Rico Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No Jersey Selected

    Anybody remember the DL they signed, the first (and I think only) player signed before the lockout?

    Edit: In the spirit of the thread ... no harm, no foul.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  10. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #12 Jersey

    Let's look at personnel moves by position group:

    QB -- nothing much impacted this year, nor was needed to.

    RB -- returning vets BJGE and Woodhead dropped off a bit after great years. Rookies only made modest contributions the first year. Vet pickup was pretty minor.

    WR -- vet pickup didn't work out. Passing game was great anyway.

    OL -- draft and vet pickups both were mightily successful. This is a Very Good Thing, given that one starter retired and two other starters had ghastly injury years.

    TE -- new additions didn't work out. Was the best group in the league anyway. Indeed, in some people's opinion, it was the best TE group in the entire history of the game of football.

    K/P/LS -- see QB.

    DL/3-4 OLB -- lots of things were tried. To many people's surprise, they were tried in vet FA, not the draft. For at least one season, the net result was a huge success -- a DL that's been very effective in the playoffs despite having three of the top pass rushers (counting Carter, Wright, Pryor but not Cunningham) go down with season-ending injuries, only one of them (Wright) very predictably.

    ILB/4-3 OLB -- see QB.

    DB -- Ihedigbo and Moore seem like good scrap-heap pickups, and Dowling shouldn't be written off. Otherwise, no comment.
     
  11. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    First of all, I think this thread is a very good one. It's nice to get away from some of the other more predictable subjects.

    I think when looking at the list as a whole, it really stands out that we had one of the most successful free agency classes out of the entire NFL; which is not always the case here in N.England. The 2011 free agency class took care of BOTH re-signing our own (Light, Mankins, Warren--all pretty significant signings, even Warren has really held his own in my opinion), and also some very key signings from other teams (Waters, Anderson, Carter---all 3 enormous signings, just great...) and also Ellis, whose fate has been mediocre, but could still pay off with a big play or two in the SB.

    Of course, like anything else, you'll have your 'meh' signings or weak additions also. Much like the draft, free agency is also hit or miss. We've seen this with the Haynesworth signing which didn't pan out, and also the Ocho signing, which didn't work out yet still provided some depth at a ridiculous cost.

    The good thing is that both were not extremely bad acquisitions in terms of having to give that much up, so we don't have to re-live the Duane Starks or Derrick Burgess 3rd round losses like in year's past. Even including the high salary from #85, these 2 were both reletively low-risk and high-reward. Of course, it could still be argued that we have not seen the absolute end result with the #85 experiment, as unlikely as any production seems at this point. However, should he come up with a big catch (unikely, but not totally impossible) on the night of February 5th, many will be able to live with the signing in a better way...

    Overall, I would count at least 6 of the 9 signings as "positive" ones, and that's a whopping 67% success rate. I do not think we see that again for a while, as this yr's crop of FA's has been pretty incredible as a whole.

    Like I said though, even a guy like Ellis or (as unlikely as it seems) Ocho can still contribute on some level in our final and most important game. Even if either one shows up at all, it was an expensive depth move, but not the end of the world.

    It should be noted that going out and getting a WR here, whether that's through the draft or FA is awfully tough....we've seen failures on every level now. The draft signings (Bethel Johnson, Chad Jackson, Taylor Price, Brandon Tate) and the FA's (David Terrell, Donald Hayes, Joey Galloway, Torry Holt, Ocho Cinco) have all failed miserably due to lack of chemistry with Brady and lack of understanding the offensive schemes and routes. It will be interesting to see what the future holds there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  12. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    All in all, I think it was a great balance by going out and gaining some very key veteran presences, in terms of off-setting the youth of the team.

    This is a very important realization that I did not fully come to terms with until looking at your list. Thank you for the great thread.

    Belichick may have seriously done his finest job this yr in regards to our free agency moves. On top of that, I was pretty happy with the draft picks, considering that they were geared towards the future.

    The 2011 season was chock full of great acquisitions, and shouldn't be overlooked by the lousy Ochocinco or Haynesworth issues. It's too bad that the ignorant mediots will not see it that way.
     
  13. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 In the Starting Line-Up

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    who would have known befor the season started that Carter and anderson would trun into two of the best pass rushers in the BB era and Waters would be the best RG Brady has ever had, good job by the front office
     
  14. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Have to add Warren into this mix, he is not all that sexy, but when he is on the field his presence is noticable... the past few games he has been in on some pretty big players...

    With so many young'uns on the field, these guys are needed off the field or in the clubhouse as they show the new guys how to act in the NFL..
     
  15. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    I think this will be a key topic for the offseason. We've seen pretty clearly that "NFL receiver" and "PATRIOTS receiver" are not nearly the same thing, and the latter proves maddeningly hard to pin down. (E.g. is Ochocinco really physically "washed up"? Surely this year's gimpy version of Branch is far more athletically compromised, yet he had 51 catches for 702 yards and 5 touchdowns.)
     
  16. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No Jersey Selected

    I believe I responded to the entire list, not just the part that mentioned the OchoStinko mistake.

    On balance, I would also call Bill's FA strategy a success, esp. when considering the number of holes in the roster - esp. on defense - that he had to fill.
     
  17. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In terms of total production, this was one of the very best free agent groups ever. Consider Haynsworth as the backup quality player that he was, and he too had reasonable success, holding down Deaderick's roster spot until he was healthy. We overpaid for some (e.g. Ellis) and underpaid for others; but, we got reasonable production out of all but one.

    IMHO, you correctly evaluate last year's free agency period. However, in hindsight, I would also add the acquisition of Sterling Moore to the list of free agent pickups.

    I also would add Ihedigbo to the list.

     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  18. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't think that the percentage of hits and misses matter much. What matter is total production.

     
  19. ay-yo

    ay-yo Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I know Lloyd coming here has been :deadhorse: on this board but with quotes like this:

    You have to feel like it's a no brainer move. Even with Lloyd on board I wouldn't mind drafting a guy since Lloyd and Welker will both be in their 30's.

    Depth Chart: Welker / Lloyd / Branch / Edelman / Pick / Slater
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  20. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    Since i don't have to pay them, I'm pretty happy to have Ellis available and still looking (in the Denver game) like he could help if needed. Let's face it, Carter,then Anderson, Deaderck and Love came up big and I think Warren desves more credit as of late. You can only play 11 and i don't mind having an Ellis or a Brace in reserve. Sure beats Wilfork moving to every position in the line because we had no one else.
     
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