I was going to post this under Grid's new backdraft thread, but it's long enough to warrant being kept separate. I'll link to it from that thread. This is an absurdly early exercise and will likely be mostly wrong (probably on several fronts), but with that caveat, here's an early "master plan" for 2015 that I'm using as a working template. BWAHAHA! Assumptions: - I'm assuming a league-wide cap of $144M, with the Pats carrying over around $5M for an adjusted cap of $149M - I'm using Miguel's January 1 numbers for the Pats showing $144.7M currently devoted to signed players plus $4.6M in dead space, for $149.3M currently committed to the 2015 cap. - Therefore I'm assuming roughly a zero sum game. - I understand that the Pats will need around $6M in reserve for rookie and UDFA signings and for reserve operating funds. I haven't quite sorted that out yet. This is a work in progress, and a 1st pass attempt. Pre-FA Moves to Free Up Cap Space: 1. Convert $6M of QB Tom Brady's base salary to signing bonus. According to Miguel, with will free up about $4M in 2015 cap space. 2. Restructure LB Jerod Mayo along the lines that Miguel has proposed, which will free up around $4M in 2015 cap space. 3. Cut WR Danny Amendola with a post-June 1 designation. Per Miguel, this frees up $4.2M in cap space. 4. Sign CB Darrelle Revis to a long term extension. Say 4 years/$60M with $45M guaranteed and a $20M signing bonus. Base salary + incentives of $6M, $9.5M, $9.5M and $15M (non-guaranteed). 2015 cap hit of $16M ($6M salary+incentives + $5M pro-rated signing bonus + $5M carryover from 2014). 2015 cap savings of $9M. 5. Sign OT Nate Solder to a long term extension. 2015 cap savings of roughly $2M. 6. Extend OT Sebastian Vollmer by one year (through 2017) for around $5M, freeing up around $1M in 2015 cap space. 7. Extend CB Brandon Browner by one year (through 2017) for around $4M, freeing up around $1M in 2015 cap space. 8. Extend CB Kyle Arrington by one year (through 2017) for around $4M, freeing up around $1M in 2015 cap space. Total 2015 cap space freed up about $26.2M. Other moves, such as cutting TE Michael Hoomanawanui ($1.2M cap savings) would free up additional space, but can be done later. Cutting DT Vince Wilfork frees up over $8M, but I think that should be a last resort. My guess is that the can squeeze a bit more, but I haven't worked it out. Pre-FA Signings: 1. Sign DB Devin McCourty to a 5 year/$40M extension with $16M guaranteed and a $10M signing bonus. Base salary+incentives of $2.5M, $5.5M, $6.5M, $6.5M and $9M. 2015 cap hit: $5M. 2. Sign DE/OLB Akeem Ayers to a 4 year/$16M extension with $7.5M guaranteed and a $6.5M signing bonus. Essentially the same deal that Kyle Arrington got in 2013. Base salaries+incentives of $1M, $2M, $3M and $3.5M. 2015 cap hit: $2.625M. 3. Sign Alan Branch to a 2 year/$3M contract with $1M guaranteed and a $1M signing bonus. Base salary+incentives of $1M in 2015 and 2016. 2015 cap hit: $1.5M. 4. Sign LB Jonathan Casillas to a 3 year/$4.5M contract with $2M guaranteed and a $1M signing bonus. Base salary+incentives of $1M, $1M and $1.5M. 2015 cap hit of $1.333M. 5. Sign K Stephen Gostkowski to a 4 year/$16M deal with $5M guaranteed a a $4M signing bonus. Base+incentives of $2M, $3M, $3M and $4M. 2015 cap hit: $3M. 6. Sign RB Shane Vereen to a 3 year/$8M extension with $3M guaranteed and a $1.5M signing bonus. Base salary+incentives of $2M, $2M and $2.5M. 2015 cap hit of $2.5M. 7. Re-sign ERFA DT Sealver Siliga - $660K per Miguel. 8. Re-sign RFA FB/H-Back James Develin. Say 3 years/$2.1M, $700K guaranteed, $300K signing bonus. 2015 cap hit of around $700K. Pre-FA Trade vs. Re-Signings: I would offer the Pats early 4th round pick from TB to New Orleans for DB Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro has 2 years left on his rookie deal. He would be a perfect fit as a hybrid S/LB/slot CB for the Pats. He was benched twice this season, partly over mis-use as a classic SS. I don't know if he can be gotten, but I'd make a run at him. If it doesn't work out, then I'd re-sign Pat Chung for something around 3 years/$8M with $3M guaranteed and a 2015 cap hit of about $2.5M, similar to Vaccaro's 2015 hit. External FA Signings: 1. Clint Boling, OL, Cincinnati / James Carpenter, OL, Seattle. Either would be able to plug in at LG right away. Boling is a terrific pulling guard, Carpenter is bigger and has versatility at multiple positions. Getting either may be a long shot, but I'd pursue it if at all possible. Say something like 4 years/$20M with $8M guaranteed and a $4M signing bonus. Base salary + incentives of $3M, $4M, $4M and $5M. 2015 cap hit: $4M. 2. Eddie Royal, WR, San Diego. Much more of a vertical threat than Danny Amendola, more similar to Emmanuel Sanders. Say 3 years/$12M with $4M guaranteed and a $3M signing bonus. Base salaries + incentives of $2.5M, $3M and $3.5M. 2015 cap hit: $3.5M. I would also like to find a way to cut Hooman and use his $1.2M cap savings to go after an upgrade. Lance Kendricks, Rob Housler and Charles Clay are all FAs. Right now I'm not sure how to squeeze that in so I'm leaving it out, but it's something to keep in mind. Total 2015 cap hit for internal and external signings: $27.4M. It's quite tight and might need a bit of tweaking, but I think it could be made to work. Players Under Contract Prior to the 2015 Draft: 1. CB Darrelle Revis ($16M with new deal) 2. QB Tom Brady ($9M after restructure to move base salary into signing bonus) 3. DT Vince Wilfork ($9M) 4. TE Rob Gronkowsku ($8.65M) 5. OT Sebastian Vollmer ($7M after a 1 year extension and restructuring) 6. LB Jerod Mayo ($6.2M after restructuring as proposed by Miguel) 7. OT Nate Solder ($5.5M 2015 cap hit on a long term deal) 8. DB Devin McCourty ($5M 2015 cap hit on a long term deal) 9. WR Julian Edelman ($4.15M) 10. OL Clint Boling/James Carpenter ($4M 2015 cap hit on a long term deal) 11. CB Brandon Browner ($3.8M after a 1 year extension and restructuring) 12. DE/OLB Rob Ninkovich ($3.7M) 13. CB Kyle Arrington ($3.625M after a 1 year extension and restructuring) 14. WR Brandon LaFell ($3.5M) 15. WR Eddie Royal (3.5M 2015 cap hit on a long term deal) 16. K Stephen Gostkowski ($3M) 17. DE/OLB Akeem Ayers ($2.625M 2015 cap hit on a long term deal) 18. OL Marcus Cannon ($2.62M) 19. DE Chandler Jones ($2.6M) 20. DB Kenny Vaccaro/Pat Chung ($2.57M). 21. RB Shane Vereen ($2.5M) 22. LB Dont'a Hightower ($2.45M) 23. ST Matt Slater ($1.75M) 24. DT/DE Dominique Easley ($1.66M) 25. OL Ryan Wendell ($1.6M) 26. TE Michael Hoomanawanui ($1.58M) 27. CB Alfonzo Dennard ($1.5M) 28. DT Alan Branch ($1.5M) 29. S Tavon Wilson ($1.35M) 30. LB Jonathan Casillas ($1.33M) 31. LB Jamie Collins ($1M) 32. WR Aaron Dobson ($935K) 33. RB LeGarrette Blount ($745K) 34. CB Logan Ryan ($745K) 35. S Duron Harmon ($725K) 36. QB Jimmy Garoppolo ($715K) 37. FB/H-Back James Develin $700K) 38. S/ST Nate Ebner ($685K) 39. DT Sealver Siliga ($660K) 40. RB James White ($610K) 41. DE Michael Buchanan ($600K) 42. TE Tim Wright ($585K) 43. WR Brian Tyms ($585K) 44. OL Cameron Fleming ($585K) 45. OL Bryan Stork ($585K) 46. OL Josh Kline ($585K) 47. DT Chris Jones ($585K) 48. DT Antonio Johnson ($585K) 49. DE Jake Bequette ($585K) 50. LB Darius Fleming ($585K) 51. ST Ryan Allen ($585K) -------------------------------------------------------------------- 52. RB Deion Lewis ($585K) 53. DE Zach Moore ($535K) 54. WR Josh Boyce ($510K) 55. RB Jonas Gray ($510K) 56. RB Tyler Gaffney ($510K) 57. OL Jordan Devey ($510K) 58. OL Chris Barker ($510K) 59. OL Caylin Hauptmann ($510K) 60. LB Cameron Gordon ($510K 61.[LB James Morris ($510K) 62. LB Deontae Skinner ($510K) 63. CB Malcolm Butler ($510K) 64. QB Garrett Gilbert ($435K) 65. WR Greg Orton ($435K) 66. DE Rufus Johnson ($435K) 67. S Justin Green ($435K) 68. CB Daxton Swanson ($435K) Total cap hit (68 players): $145.6M Top 51 cap hit: $137.8M Dead space: $4.6M Total 2015 cap commitment: $150.2M Again, it would need a little tweaking, but it's not far off. The Pats could field a VERY good squad from that group, without having to fill holes in the draft. That team would retain all the key FAs and upgrade at the safety (Vaccaro), left guard (Boling/Carpenter) and #3 WR (Royal) positions, without an overall increase in 2015 cap hit. Key losses would include OL Dan Connolly (possible retirement) and RB Stevan Ridley. 2015 Draft: If the above could be achieved then the Pats would have few immediate needs for 2015. The main goals would be to find a successor to VW, a quality offensive lineman, a rotational DE/OLB, and some long term talent to pipeline. The Pats would be fairly free to focus on the best values, rather than on plugging holes. Quality would be more valuable than quantity, so trading up might make sense. With that in mind, here's one scenario: ***Trade: Pats trade 1st (32) and 3rd (96) round picks to move up to around 24-25 in the 1st round. 1st (24-25). Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida St. 6'4" 320#. A cross between Ndamukong Suh and Haloti Ngata. He'll be a stud anchoring the interior of the DL for a long time. ***Trade: Pats trade 2nd (64) and 4th round picks to move up to around #50in the 2nd round. 2nd (50'ish). Cam Erving, OL, Florida St. 6'4" 310#. If he doesn't last this long then someone like Ty Sambrailo or Ereck Flowers could be an option. 3rd (97 - comp). Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Ohio St. 6'3" 255#. 4th(101) (from TB). [Traded to NO for S Kenny Vaccaro; otherwise used to draft the best DB available.] 6th (from TB). DeAndre Smelter, WR, Georgia Tech. 6'3" 222#. Gets a red shirt year to recover from his ACL tear. 6th (comp). Josh Robinson, RB, Mississippi St. 5'9" 222#. "The human bowling ball." 7th (from Tenn). Tre McBride, WR, William & Mary. 6'1" 205#. Will compete with Tyms and Boyce for a roster spot.