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2018 NE Offseason

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by cstjohn17, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. ohiopatsfan

    ohiopatsfan Practice Squad Player

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    I would try to keep Bennett if he is willing to restructure, especially if Gronk is seriously thinking about retirement. Also draft a young TE (Edwards?). With Butler obviously on the way out (especially after his absence in the SB), CB becomes a need since none of Butler's replacements looked all that good. I like Hubbard as a top pick, and maybe his defensive coordinator (Schiano) as well, if Flores gets pulled along with one of our exiting coordinators (I feel he may follow McDaniels to Indy). Also, I would like to see a big north-south RB (Blount looked like his old self in the SB and made me sorry BB let him go). I would opt for Bo Scarborough from Alabama (maybe even his offensive coordinator Daboll if O'Shea leaves). Regardless, there should be big changes next year and it might be a few years before the Pats get back to the big game. again, but, with TB still hitting on all cylinders, a return to the SB next year is certainly possible.
     
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  2. reamer

    reamer Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Just FYI, Daboll went to the Bills.
     
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  3. JerseyShore99

    JerseyShore99 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Might have to focus on offense with Solder a FA and 87 mulling retirement (understandably)...The youth infusion on O is long overdue with Edelman, Amendola, etc.

    But agreed, the D MUST be upgraded
    - Roberts is a good thumper to have 4 or 5 on the LB list, valuable against power runners
    - Richards is a STer put in an awful position for reasons unknown, don't want him here, don't think I ever really did...Tavon Wilson was literally and indisputably a better DB
    - Lee again had no business starting in a Super Bowl but is definitely valuable cheap and productive depth on the outside
    - Bademosi is a FA and core STer that yet AGAIN, had no business being out there as much as he was, I'd like Bademosi back on a cheaper, fair deal

    I envision the D (give or take) next year as:
    DE: Flowers, Day 1/2 picked ROOKIE, Wise, Rivers, Lee, Harrison
    DT: Brown, Guy, Butler, Valentine, RJF
    LB: Hightower, Day 1/2 picked ROOKIE, Van Noy, Flowers, Roberts, Langi
    S: McCourty, Chung, Harmon, King, Ebner
    CB: Gilmore, VET cut (Sherman?), Rowe, Bademosi, Jones, Jones
     
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  4. JerseyShore99

    JerseyShore99 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I love that draft as well although too early to speculate

    Pretty sure Ansah will be tagged by DET but he'd be SICK in NE, he literally has DPOY potential in him held back by caching and scheme
     
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  5. JerseyShore99

    JerseyShore99 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    - Bennett is retiring, that's it, accept it, lot going on outside of football
    - While 87 retiring is a MAJOR blow, you can't blame him, can only appreciate his greatness, while 87 is irreplaceable, the O has to be altered without him and get younger and more durable regardless
    - Hate to see Butler go, forever in NE lore and a top 5 at his best, best of luck to him...while I don't see Talib coming back (although he may be cut), I do believe Sherman gets cut and winds up on NE for a year to chase a title and rebuild stock
    - I think Flores stays on as DC and Schiano comes on as a "Defensive Assistant", never hurts to add another wise football mind, especially when he has history with the captains, McCourty and Harmon
    - LGB was/is one of my favorites and was sad to see him go, especially for ****in Gillislee, makes me sick...what a duo him and Lewis could have been...I'm a Scarbrough fan but definitely want a power back in the draft...Lewis, Burkhead, White got real repetitive although all good players
    - The competition next year APPEARS to already have tightened and become more leveled BUT NE will always be competing under the Kraft ownership and obviously under BB and Brady, 12-4 and a AFCCG appearance remains a guarantee pending health
     
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  6. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We need a #4 safety who can actually play defense. We use 3 safeties a lot, so we need a backup.
     
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  7. Hammer of Thor

    Hammer of Thor PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Here is my attempt at a holistic offseason. I’m trying to take into account free agency, cuts, and the draft. I am not attempting to take trades into account, as that depends on information we really don’t have at our disposal. This is the first in a few posts.

    I have been a proponent of using veteran free agents (UFA and cuts) as the primary manner to cover a team’s holes. I would then use the draft / UDFA for longer term prospects. This accomplishes a few things. 1) it tries to ensure the team doesn’t overdraft due to a position of need, 2) it reflects the amount of time a rookie needs to get up to speed in the NFL in general (including the longer season), and Patriots’ scheme specifically; oftentimes we don’t see draft dividends until well after year 1. To the extent plug-and-play types are needed in the draft, power running backs and cornerback seem to be the positions that has the highest rate of immediate success.

    I’m also trying to reflect a few other things:

    First, the Patriots tend to leave ~$10M in salary cap space each year when entering training camp. This extra room reflects how the Patriots leave space for players 52 and 53, injuries, trade/cut opportunities in camp, and potential incentives that are considered for cap purpose to be not-likely-to-be-earned (i.e. not in cap number) but the Patriots expect will be earned. Last year they kept closer to $15M due to high incentives for players like Gronk that were NLTBE. This year I expect the Pats to go back to $10M as Gronk’s incentives are now likely to be earned (included already in cap charge), and I can’t see how they would expect Hightower to play a full season.

    Second, I’m trying to manage the long-term too, so that means keeping an eye on the 2019 cap. That means limiting the number of restructurings, as the team needs room for some of its bigger FAs in 2019 – Trey Flowers (we have already been told the team is making a potential extension a high priority this current offseason), Shaq Mason, Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Malcom Brown (who may be optioned but that will be at a much higher cap hit than his current hit), Chris Hogan.

    Finally, I’m trying my best to reflect the Patriots actual past practice. That means filling holes by spreading money over lots of players rather than just one player (which is sort of consistent with my approach of solving short term holes with FAs/cuts). It means not signing a UFA if it messes with a high anticipated comp pick (or said better, only sign if they believe the UFA provides more value to the team including his ripple effect on the rest of the roster, compared with the comp pick and its salary cap ripple effect). It means targeting players from teams in coaching transition, or “Patriot killers” from the AFC East, or older veterans on their last legs who have rarely been in contention but yearn for a title. It means providing Brady with significant guaranteed money as opposed to highest potential money.

    As alluded to above, I’m taking cap effects as of today under the top-51 rules. I’m not trying to bore anyone with full details or develop numbers as an accountant. Therefore, all my contracts will have a simple base salary / signing / option bonus structure. And therefore, I’m assuming cut from the Patriots roster will have their entire dead money hit in 2018, and for top-51 purposes will be replaced by someone earning $0.5M. That reflects in the opposite direction too; anyone signed to the team will replace someone earning $0.5M for top-51 purposes.

    This exercise is meant to be illustrative – how the Patriots *could* set up their future and cover enough holes such that the team could have scored/prevented 9 extra points from what the 2017 team did. So the specific cap shorthand and dollar amounts can be quibbled, but the illustrative point will still hold. The specific players involved in transactions can be quibbled (whether this player actually fits the type of guy who can do what we want at this point) but the concept of “we’re signing for a certain type who can fill this role for this price” will still hold.

    With that behind us – the next post will now cover the moves.
     
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  8. Hammer of Thor

    Hammer of Thor PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    All details from overthecap.com. including a series on potential cuts.

    Current salary cap here: https://overthecap.com/salary-cap/new-england-patriots
    Free agent list here: https://overthecap.com/free-agency/new-england-patriots/

    Pats Pulpit had a great article with the types of players I’m looking for, too: https://www.patspulpit.com/2018/2/18/17023822/2018-nfl-free-agency-underutilized-backup-new-england-patriots-burkhead-bademosi-flowers-lewis-hogan

    The team currently has $13.7M in cap space.

    Cuts

    Alan Branch: $3.5M saved
    Dwayne Allen: I love your blocking, but not at that price. $5M saved.
    Marty Bennett: I will always love you Marty (not in that way….), but not at that price. $6.2M saved.
    David Harris: $2.1M saved
    Shea McClellin: $2.4M saved
    Mike Gillslee: I just don’t think his performance justifies the money. $2.2M saved

    That’s $21.4M saved, but they’re being replaced by 6 guys at $0.5M each. $18.4M in total savings, which raises the cap space to $32.1M.

    Restructuring

    Brady is owed $15M each in 2018/2019 and has cap charges of $22M each year due to $7M in prior bonuses (which can’t be removed). I think we need to work on the long-term assumption that the Patriots will be paying big money to *a* quarterback every year. In 2001, 2002, and 2003 that was Drew Bledsoe. By the time Bledsoe’s contract was finally off the books, that’s when Brady was due one himself. Following a similar precedent, we can do the same here – extend his contract longer than his expiration date, and have Brady absorb the team’s QB hit while the new starting QB drafted in 2018 or 2019 is starting on a cheap contract.

    Let’s try this: extend through 2021 (4 year deal in total, 2 additional years from current deal), with $36M in signing bonus, and base salaries of $1M (guaranteed) / $1M (guaranteed) / $15M ($2M guaranteed) / $18M (not guaranteed). Brady is guaranteed to receive $40M for 2 years of performance ($20M per year) which is quite a lot. Cap hits are $17M / $17M / $24M / $27M if he plays out the contract; if cut after year 2, the last two years are $11M / $9M. If he’s still playing well after 2019, can always revisit contract at that point.

    That saves $5M on the 2018 cap.

    Other opportunities for restructuring / extension to reduce cap hits are Gronk, McCourty, Gilmore, Cannon, Hightower. The Patriots are already scheduled to have cap hits of over $5M for 7 players in 2019 and Malcom Brown would be 8 if they exercise his option, and Solder will be 9 (see free agency below). I’m not comfortable pushing 2018 cap hits into 2019 for any additional players at this point. Cooks is a potential extension opportunity if the team thinks he fits long-term and he is willing not to break the bank, but personally I’m skeptical here.

    That gets us to $37.1M in cap space.

    Re-signings

    Nate Solder: 4 years, 48M as follows: $8M signing bonus, 3rd year option with $6M bonus, base salaries of $6M, $9M, $9M, $10M. Salary cap hits of $8M/$11M/$14M/$15M. It’s $12M per year but effectively $23M for 2 years ($11.5M), and leaves a $4M dead cap hit when option not picked up after 2019 (when he presumably retires). Left tackles cost a lot. Effective reduction of $7.5M of cap space for 2018.

    The Cat: 3 years, $13.5M as follows: $4.5M signing bonus, base salaries of $1M, $3.5M, $4.5M for cap hits of $2.5M, $5M, $6.5M. Averages $4.5M per year for Dion Lewis. I’m probably optimistic here, as the rumors are that he thinks he can get $6M per. I’m thinking teams are still skeptical of older running backs with major injury histories with Patriots magic on him (how much success have RBs have after they left the Pats?). But yeah, I’m probably delusional. Lewis would likely not see year 3 of this contract, offering him $9M over 2 years. Effective reduction of $2M of cap space for 2018.

    Matthew Slater: 2 years, $4.5M as follows: $1M signing bonus, $1.5M base, $2M base for cap hits of $2M and $2.5M. Fair deal for all, can’t see him anywhere else, takes him to the end of his career. Effective reduction of $1.5M in cap space for 2018.

    Nate Ebner: 1 year, $1.5M. I can’t see him getting a big offer elsewhere coming off his injury where he may not even be ready to start the season. Effective reduction of $1M in cap space for 2018.

    Marquis Flowers: 1 year, $1.5M. Flowers sounded like a guy who wanted to be here on Twitter recently, and we know he has been excited for the defensive opportunity. Could be a Lions target though. Effective reduction of $1M in cap space for 2018.

    Danny Playoffs Amendola: $1 year, $1.5M. He’s done this every year so far, see no reason for it to stop now. Effective reduction of $1M in cap space for 2018.

    Johnson Bademosi: $1 year, $1M. His special teams play was good this year, and he played well as an emergency CB this year, until Q3 of the Super Bowl. As an emergency option, he’ll be ok. Effective reduction of $0.5M in cap space for 2018.

    James Harrison: $1 year, $1M. Sounds like both sides are interested, what’s the harm? Best case scenario he gets beaten out in camp because others are doing well. Effective cap reduction of $0.5M in cap space for 2018.

    Brandon King and Brandon Bolden – resigned for 1 year, vet minimum deals. No effective impact on 2018 cap space.

    Implications are the following players walk:

    Malcolm Butler – obvious
    Rex Burkhead – likely priced himself out and is a little redundant
    LeAdrian Waddle – likely can get a starter’s contract
    Cam Fleming – likely can get high end backup money that the Patriots may not want to pay with Cole Croston and Antonio Garcia waiting in the wings (Croston being on the roster the whole year, Garcia talked up by Scar during Super Bowl week)

    These moves cost $15M against the salary cap, leaving the Patriots with $22.1M in cap space.

    The next post goes outside the organization and wraps things up.
     
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  9. Hammer of Thor

    Hammer of Thor PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    External Free Agents

    As a starting point, it’s likely that Malcolm Butler will generate no worse than a 4th round 2019 compensatory pick and quite possible a 3rd. Burkhead and Waddle would likely also qualify for 5th or 6th rounders depending on the contracts. I suspect they’ll be ok giving up with lower round picks if they deem it worthy, but not the Butler pick. So the names aren’t going to be pretty, but hopefully like in past years, they’ll be effective.

    Justin Ellis, NT (UFA from Oakland): 3 years, $13.5M structured as $4.5M signing bonus, $1.5M/$3.5M/$4M base salaries, cap hits of $3M, $5M, $5.5M. Took a big step forward in Oakland this year but is still under the radar. Fills the Alan Branch role of a wide body who can stop the run. 2018 effective cap hit of $2.5M.

    Kareem Martin, DE/LB (UFA from Arizona): $3 years, $11.5M structured as $4.5M signing bonus, $1.5M / $2.5M / $3M base salaries, cap hits of $3M, $4M, $4.5M. Edge player who can stop the run, can drop back in coverage, and experienced in both 4-3 and 3-4. Pats Pulpit article has great detail here. 2018 effective cap hit of $2.5M

    Dion Sims, TE (projected cut from Bears): 2 years, $6M structured as $2M signing bonus, $1.5M / $2.5M base salaries, $2.5M / $3.5M cap hits. Was a really good blocking tight end and a decent red zone option who signed with the Bears and then played like the disaster that is the Bears. He won’t be Dwayne Allen good in blocking, but he can be reasonably close at a fraction of the cap hit, with a potential upside as a red zone receiving threat if he picks up the offense. 2018 effective cap hit of $2M.

    Marcus Cooper, CB (projected cut from Bears): 1 year, $2.5M. Effective player for Kansas City who fell apart in Chicago. This is a one-year “prove it” deal where he will try to rebuild his reputation, and provide another tall outside body to compete with Eric Rowe on the outside. 2018 effective cap hit of $2M.

    Doug Martin, RB (already cut from Tampa): 1 year, $2.5M, effective $2M cap hit for 2018. Big back (muscle wise) for the heavy yards, can see if he has anything left in the tank.

    JJ Wilcox (projected cut from Steelers): 1 year, $1M, effective $0.5M cap hit for 2018. Fallen out of favor, here he can hopefully be an upgrade from Jordan Richards as a dime backer and fill in for Patrick Chung as needed.

    Will Clarke, DE (UFA from Tampa): 1 year, $1M, effective $0.5M cap hit for 2018. Special teamer who has played reasonably well as a situational guy in Tampa, and has done a little bit of everything. Can compete for a spot in camp.

    Corey Nelson, LB (UFA from Broncos): $1 year, $1M, effective $0.5M cap hit for 2018. Similar story, special teamer who worked his way up into a starting role, and has done reasonably well in coverage prior to his injury last year. Gives them another option to go with Flowers as a coverage guy.

    Total cost: $12.5M in 2018 cap space, leaving the Patriots with $9.6M in cap space. Only 2 UFAs signed who could impact comp formula – who would offset Burkhead and Waddle while leaving Butler’s projected 3rd/4th round pick alone.

    Roster Recap and Draft

    The key here is that the Patriots could enter 2018 with this team and be in a good shape. Some of the excess depth they had at RB, tackle, and CB from 2017 is gone but the depth is still reasonable, while the depth and potential at DT, DE, and LB is significantly improved. Obviously the team isn’t perfect and can be further improved, but it’s as close as it can be given the realities of the salary cap.

    What excites me the most is that an offseason like this would allow the Patriots to solely focus on best long-term player available in the draft, as there are no immediate emergency holes that need to be filled. I kind of liked the draft shown here for precisely that reason: https://draftwire.usatoday.com/2018/02/07/2018-nfl-mock-draft-full-7-round-projections/

    But there are so many options, and it’ll be interesting to see the trade options on the board on draft days. I just love having that flexibility.
     
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  10. Hammer of Thor

    Hammer of Thor PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I didn't include Pernell McPhee in my earlier list because the prevailing wisdom among the Chicago writers was that he would restructure. Well, he's been cut today. Very, very intriguing; former Raven who signed a big deal with the Bears and hasn't lived up to the contract simply because of injuries, will still be 29 for most of 2018. He had a knee injury that required two procedures in 2016 and summer 2017, although it was a shoulder injury that caused him to land on IR this year. If he's recovered enough (the big question mark), could fit in very well here for a reasonable price. Another regime change swoop (already had 2 Bears in my previous list).
     
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  11. reamer

    reamer Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I'd be extremely interested. If nothing else, he can set the edge. Huge dude.
     
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  12. captain stone

    captain stone Pro Bowl Player

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    I though that McPhee & Charles Clay were the best players for us available at #159 of the 2011 draft. Bill of course chose neither.
    I would also be very interested in bringing him to Foxborough for a workout and/or physical. If really healthy, he could become part of a decent strong-side DE rotation with Deatrich Wise. I would still like to hear what Kareem Martin's asking price is, however, unless the result of any visit by McPhee is deal-making-caliber positive.
     
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