2017 NE FA market & targets

2020 Patriots Season:
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Sep 20th

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long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
I hope you don't mind adding this thread here. Two reasons:
1. With so many key free agents and hefty cap space FA this year has big impact on
Draft thoughts
2. This board is much more collected and calm for this thread to have sense over the
next month

Hopefully this should be collection of information and debate about what BB&co will do in this FA, much like the “2017 Draft Prospects Thread“.
____

First of . I wanted to put in context (for myself) what is the realistic money that will be spent this year and what are the realistic contract expectations - on average. With everybody putting price tags on players and players/agents tweeting enormous expectations . plus many people here being afraid who might be leaving from the rest of the big NE FAs (Hightower, Bennett, Butler, Sheard and Ryan added recently) I wanted to come to a more realistic picture. So I dug out the following info which might not be 100% correct but is hopefully good enough to get the big picture.


total league 2017 cap space 1.250.M = 40M avr. / per team
rookies (over minimum - top 51) = 4M
in-season money (new signings, extensions, incentives etc.) = 10-15M
*
total cap space to spend in 2017 FA = 650-800M
average money to spend in 2017 FA = 20-25M per team
*
2016 total FA cap hit = 560M
2016 number of FAs signed = 310
2016 average FA cap hit = 1.8M
*
2016 franchise tags = 10
2016 FA cap hits +10M = 4
2016 FA cap hits 5-10M = 16
2016 FA cap hits 1-5M = 150
*
2016 FA contracts +10M APY = 8 …..... *GPY = 2
2016 FA contracts 5-10M APY = 38 ..… *GPY = 7
*GPY - guaranteed per year
___________________


Few quick notes:

Many of the top 100 listed FAs are expecting big contracts, only a few will actually get them.
- last year only 14 FAs became over 10M cap hits. And a few more got 10M+ APY contracts with first year lower cap hit. That means only every other team will offer 1 elite contract.
- its even more telling that only 16 players got between 5-10M contracts (slightly higher APY)
That means only one 5M+ 2016 cap hit FA contract per team.
(that's why agents and players are much more nervous than front offices)

I use cap hit data because this is real money and 2017 reality. Its true most contracts are backloaded but its a lot of fiction there so it doesn't change this general idea IMHO.

Its also true it will be more money to spend this year . but on the other side its a very good and deep draft class to shy many GMs away from overspending in FA.
____

In the end all of this just confirms the old BB mantra: “Im not afraid of free agency“.
He gave or will give most of NE UFAs a proposal for new contract and let everybody test the market . except maybe for Hightower.. Id expect most of them that he wants to keep to come back.

2016 roster building was a thing of beauty by BB&co. But as Lombardi pointed out they made one huge mistake - letting Hicks go. It didn't hurt them this year of course but having Hicks on board for few more years (on relatively cheap deal 5M APY, 10M GTD) would give them so much more leverage in FA and Draft. Lombardi also confirmed they asked him to return offering more . but it was too late. Now they have to hope Branch returns for another year or so. The good thing is he already stated he's not retiring..
___

Once again . hope you don't mind this thread here . and the long overture . hopefully it can be a useful one . also for Draft discussions and projections..


 
Last edited:

long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
To start with possible targets ..

First guy that is seriously discussed today is Mychal Kendricks.
You can have a good read about it here:
Should the Patriots try to trade for Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks?

I believe he is very much in the mold of explosive, strong and fast 4-3 OLB hybrid that Pats are searching for some time. Some Draft guys are projecting Reddick to Pats in 1st round but he might not be there at #32 plus its an expensive investment in the guy that has little experience as LB. (plus looks like all good LBs will be quickly gone)

There are two other very good options in FA with Zach Brown and Lorenzo Alexander. (with Kendricks younger and cheaper). Also Gerald Hodges from SF.
Id be excited if NE adds any of these guys . not only because some uncertainty at LB position . but Id really like them to add some serious speed at the position.

With CJ and Collins gone . it was exactly the lack of lateral and LB speed that was the Achilles' heel . and it almost costed them a SB IMHO..
____


EDIT: For some context here Eagles cap situation and possible cuts
Eagles are set to face key cap-related decisions

 
Last edited:

BobDigital

Pro Bowl Player
To start with possible targets ..

First guy that is seriously discussed today is Mychal Kendricks.
You can have a good read about it here:
Should the Patriots try to trade for Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks?

I believe he is very much in the mold of explosive, strong and fast 4-3 OLB hybrid that Pats are searching for some time. Some Draft guys are projecting Reddick to Pats in 1st round but he might not be there at #32 plus its an expensive investment in the guy that has little experience as LB. (plus looks like all good LBs will be quickly gone)

There are two other very good options in FA with Zach Brown and Lorenzo Alexander. (with Kendricks younger and cheaper). Also Gerald Hodges from SF.
Id be excited if NE adds any of these guys . not only because some uncertainty at LB position . but Id really like them to add some serious speed at the position.

With CJ and Collins gone . it was exactly the lack of lateral and LB speed that was the Achilles' heel . and it almost costed them a SB IMHO..
____


EDIT: For some context here Eagles cap situation and possible cuts
Eagles are set to face key cap-related decisions

I'd be on board with such a move. The Pats should look for vets for this year and ideally all your draft picks but guys in the first round should be players you don't plan on doing much till later in the year or next year. I am not at all happy with the LB situation across Hightower and if Hightower leaves I would certainly like a vet brought in and probably 2. I don't want to depend on rookies or some cast off who hasn't proved it yet in the NFL who MIGHT get it here.

I want a player with a track record of success.

That 40 yard run at the end of the games with the Falcons just should not happen. We got lucky it didn't bite us in the ass. I don't want a player who lets such a routine play turn into a huge gain on the field in our next playoff run.
 

I.M. Fletcher

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
I have been doing a lot of reading and trying to understand the different opportunities that may be available.

Kendricks would be an ideal fit for all the reasons you mentioned. The cost would be within reason, and helps avoid overpaying in what is going to be the most overpaid free agent class in history. If it's a 2-4th round pick, there are a lot of reasons to get behind a trade like this.
It also keeps our Comp picks, which is a huge motivating factor this offseason. We could end up with a 2 3rds and 2 4ths next draft if we don't go shopping in free agency. That's the equivalent to a mid 2nd round pick, which would give BB plenty of ammunition to move around how he likes. I think we try and stay out of FA altogether this year, unless it's for a very serious piece (Hankins, Calais Campbell) or underrated guys that will come in below the comp pick level.

A few names that I think will be under appreciated but fit a nice role for us would be move LB Jelani Jenkins from Miami, inside/outside DE William Ghoston, and Edge DE Alex Okafor from Zona. None of them will be tremendously expensive, and Jenkins and Okafor seem quite likely to move on from their current roles.
 

long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
First of all thanks guys for taking this the way I hoped for..

@Fletch - Great point about comp picks & FA shopping.
Btw. it might be much cheaper than you expect. The article quotes Philly source: Kempski projects the price for Kendricks to be a mid-to-late round draft pick and it would be a Belichick move to ship a 5th rounder to the Eagles for Kendricks.

I don't know if that's legally possible but it would be funny if he sent them the 2018 conditional 3rd (condition being that if they have to give them 3rd for Rowe this one becomes 4th) .. and at the end Pats get both back in comp for FAs lost..
 

manxman2601

Hall of Fame Poster
To start with possible targets ..

First guy that is seriously discussed today is Mychal Kendricks.
You can have a good read about it here:
Should the Patriots try to trade for Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks?

I believe he is very much in the mold of explosive, strong and fast 4-3 OLB hybrid that Pats are searching for some time. Some Draft guys are projecting Reddick to Pats in 1st round but he might not be there at #32 plus its an expensive investment in the guy that has little experience as LB. (plus looks like all good LBs will be quickly gone)

There are two other very good options in FA with Zach Brown and Lorenzo Alexander. (with Kendricks younger and cheaper). Also Gerald Hodges from SF.
Id be excited if NE adds any of these guys . not only because some uncertainty at LB position . but Id really like them to add some serious speed at the position.

With CJ and Collins gone . it was exactly the lack of lateral and LB speed that was the Achilles' heel . and it almost costed them a SB IMHO..
____


EDIT: For some context here Eagles cap situation and possible cuts
Eagles are set to face key cap-related decisions


I hope so. Kendricks was another draft binky of mine.
 

BobDigital

Pro Bowl Player
I have been doing a lot of reading and trying to understand the different opportunities that may be available.

Kendricks would be an ideal fit for all the reasons you mentioned. The cost would be within reason, and helps avoid overpaying in what is going to be the most overpaid free agent class in history. If it's a 2-4th round pick, there are a lot of reasons to get behind a trade like this.
It also keeps our Comp picks, which is a huge motivating factor this offseason. We could end up with a 2 3rds and 2 4ths next draft if we don't go shopping in free agency. That's the equivalent to a mid 2nd round pick, which would give BB plenty of ammunition to move around how he likes. I think we try and stay out of FA altogether this year, unless it's for a very serious piece (Hankins, Calais Campbell) or underrated guys that will come in below the comp pick level.

A few names that I think will be under appreciated but fit a nice role for us would be move LB Jelani Jenkins from Miami, inside/outside DE William Ghoston, and Edge DE Alex Okafor from Zona. None of them will be tremendously expensive, and Jenkins and Okafor seem quite likely to move on from their current roles.
Well the Pats need to spend a certain amount. IDK exactly how it works but within a 5 year period or so you need to spend something like 95% of your total cap money in those 5 years and can't just endlessly carry more and more over or choose to be cheap to save money.

So while I too like not getting in bidding wars and don't think we should we have to spend something like at least 45 million anyway probably.
 

I.M. Fletcher

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
Well the Pats need to spend a certain amount. IDK exactly how it works but within a 5 year period or so you need to spend something like 95% of your total cap money in those 5 years and can't just endlessly carry more and more over or choose to be cheap to save money.

So while I too like not getting in bidding wars and don't think we should we have to spend something like at least 45 million anyway probably.
I believe if we do contract extensions for Branch, Hightower and Butler, we will be well within our necessary money spent. Add in Long and Blount/Floyd, and I think we will be there comfortably.

Then if there are Gronk/Brady re-dos, it's even simpler. BB and Caserio are the best at spending enough while maximizing their allotments.
 

mihap

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
One of DTs if Branch retires: Kawan Short, Nick Fairley, Calais Cambell
RBs Highly unlikely but with BB everything possible: Fat Eddie or Latavius Murray

Isnt Kendriks 235 lb linebacker. Bill tends to draft heavier. 250+
 

I.M. Fletcher

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
One of DTs if Branch retires: Kawan Short, Nick Fairley, Calais Cambell
RBs Highly unlikely but with BB everything possible: Fat Eddie or Latavius Murray

Isnt Kendriks 235 lb linebacker. Bill tends to draft heavier. 250+
6' feet 240lbs is the baseline for any linebacker. They have only ever drafted one backer that weighed less and only one that measured less. (elandon roberts is the answer to both).

With that said, Kendricks put on 15lbs last year to get up to 250 to play in their system. I think if he got down to mid 240s, he could easily transfer to our system and keep his quickness.

Also, if we lose Branch, I don't know if any of those guys have enough girth to compensate. Dontari Poe or Johnathan Hankins would be more likely guys to fit in to Branch's role. I hope he's back though, cause those are really expensive options.
 

mihap

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
I just read that Luke Joeckel would like to test market for moving back to tackle. Thoughts?
 

captain stone

Pro Bowl Player
...There are two other very good options in FA with Zach Brown and Lorenzo Alexander (with Kendricks younger and cheaper). Also Gerald Hodges from SF.
I'd be excited if NE adds any of these guys, not only because of some uncertainty at the LB position, but I'd really like them to add some serious speed at the position.

With CJ and Collins gone, it was exactly the lack of lateral and LB speed that was their Achilles' heel, and it almost costed them a SB IMHO...
I was pounding the table for signing Zach Brown last off-season; instead of Brown, Bill over-pays (by almost the ENTIRETY of the contract) for Shea McClellin, whose only redeemable accomplishment was blocking one kick (OK, it really should've been 2 kicks). McClellin is nothing more than a bad 3-4 OLB in a defense that no longer uses the 3-4 as its base.
 

long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
I was pounding the table for signing Zach Brown last off-season; instead of Brown, Bill over-pays (by almost the ENTIRETY of the contract) for Shea McClellin, whose only redeemable accomplishment was blocking one kick (OK, it really should've been 2 kicks). McClellin is nothing more than a bad 3-4 OLB in a defense that no longer uses the 3-4 as its base.

McClellin had some very good games and ST plays in the second part of the season after he came back from injuries . but was not used much in SB (due to a lot of big nickel plays). He's versatile and I can see his value to this team despite some obvious shortcomings. (extending Freeny is one of the few roster moves I can't understand; he gives me absolutely no confidence as Hightower's backup)

What I felt all season is lack of speed, esp. lateral and cover speed at the position. Van Noy brought some of that but a guy like Brown or the others mentioned above could really be huge asset.
 

luuked

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
I just read that Luke Joeckel would like to test market for moving back to tackle. Thoughts?
Really don't see it. I think the only reason he wasn't cut already was because he was drafted so ridiculously high. However that means nothing now. First overall pick, UDFA there is no difference after a couple of years.

But more importantly I don't see it happening for practical reasons. Why would he sign here to sit on the bench and play swing tackle behind Solder/Cannon ? He said he wants to play tackle..
 

luuked

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
McClellin had some very good games and ST plays in the second part of the season after he came back from injuries . but was not used much in SB (due to a lot of big nickel plays). He's versatile and I can see his value to this team despite some obvious shortcomings. (extending Freeny is one of the few roster moves I can't understand; he gives me absolutely no confidence as Hightower's backup)
I already said it in one of the main forum threads, I think we will move on from McClellin. He was the biggest FA acquisition we had last year in terms of contract and his only value has come in ST. Apart from the blocked fieldgoal I don't remember him making any big play. He seemed to come on towards the second half of the season but then faded away again towards the end.

Dussault wrote a nice post on it and I agree 100% with him:
He played just eight defensive snaps in the Super Bowl, and 77 percent of the special teams snaps. Kyle Van Noy, who will make less than half of McClellin in 2017, proved himself to be a more valuable piece in just half a season of work.
If you can save 1.7m by cutting a player like that.. you do it. If he were on a smaller contract it would be easier to justify keeping him.
 

long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
I already said it in one of the main forum threads, I think we will move on from McClellin. He was the biggest FA acquisition we had last year in terms of contract and his only value has come in ST. Apart from the blocked fieldgoal I don't remember him making any big play. He seemed to come on towards the second half of the season but then faded away again towards the end.

Dussault wrote a nice post on it and I agree 100% with him:


If you can save 1.7m by cutting a player like that.. you do it. If he were on a smaller contract it would be easier to justify keeping him.

I read Dussault. There's no denying he was not contributing much on D in playoffs, but let's put his season in some context:

1. He had a solid second part of regular season (coming from injury and nagging concussion): he had two monster games vs Ravens and Rams and solid games @ 49ers, Jets, Denver and Miami.

2. Towards the end of the season he became core part of ST (after some ST reshuffling following injuries to Bolden, Slater and Richards who was eventually benched). He was singled out by BB making one of key blocks on Lewis' return vs Houston. IIRC similar happened with that great Amendola return.

3. In playoffs he was not big part of the game plan on D.

4. By cutting him you stay with 1.66M dead cap.

While he didn't become a core D player or step in Collins' shoes he was a solid rotational player and core ST towards the end. Is that enough to justify his 2017 salary I don't know. Id be slightly surprised to see him flat out cut. Restructure with 1M pay cut may be a possibility?
 
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