There is so much whining about the Pats being below cap, not paying Deion what he wanted, and losing free agents without signing any. What annoys me is that rarely does anyone mention that NFL teams just received a huge bump to their salary caps due to the recent CBA and that this is a one-time event that hurt the Patriots more than most other teams. Not that I need to tell Pats fans, but the team is built on smart spending. The Pats do not overpay for free agents, instead picking up those players other teams undervalue or can no longer afford to pay. The salary cap bump meant that other teams could overpay for our free agents. The only way to re-sign Givens was to overpay, because the Titans found themselves with cap room burning a hole in their pocket. It also meant that teams didn't have to cut guys whose cap numbers were getting higher. Refusing to overpay and slim free agency pickings due to so few guys being cut forced the Pats into a situation where they lost players w/o bringing many in. Why not adjust and overpay? Because this was a one-time event and it would ruin precedent. The Pats dealt with Bruschi, Harrison, Brady, Seymour, Vrabel, etc. under the pretense that they don't overpay. They will in the next few years deal with their free agents under the same pretense. Would it have been wise to blow this all up so they could compete for free agents this one off-season? When the cap doesn't increase by $15M next year things will return to normal. The Pats will lose free agents, but not to contracts quite as ridiculous as those signed by Givens and Branch. Good players will become available when their teams need to cut them for cap purposes. Rinse and repeat. If any, the mistake the Pats made was not trying to lock guys up before the new CBA. Their success was stockpiling draft picks, minimizing their needs in free agency. Now stop whining. Considering the disadvantage at which the Patriots were operating, I think things look pretty good.