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"Backdraft to the Future!": Misguided Meanderings of a Motley Masochistic Mastermind

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mayoclinic, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Hall of Fame Poster

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    I said as much in the main thread but it's clear he's a long way behind Nink and Chandler Jones in BB's eyes. Personally I think the reduced play of Ayers and Jonas Gray has been a big disappointment at the end of this season. But, it's worked out so far so I won't complain too much.
     
  2. kennyb

    kennyb In the Starting Line-Up

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    De finely could have used some more ayers. Inexplicable. The don't seem to get much action from their dts either.

    I wonder if they could sign knighton away from the broncos. Probably not.

    Jonas gray would have helped a lot yesterday. I think.
     
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  3. patfanken

    patfanken PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Just a couple of comments since this is so early:

    1. Epic effort man. The Grid has some catching up to do. ;). I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

    2; Sorry that Vacarro isn't going to happen now that Chung has been resigned. I'm not sure I get all your interest in him, but I don't really know anything about the kid except how well he was thought of in the draft and how far he's fallen in the Saints eyes. I STILL don't see the need for SS types. I think in today's NFL you are looking for CB/S hybrids, rather than S/LB hyprids.

    I think instead of looking for that prototype SS, I'm thinking it would be easier and cheaper to find that 225-235 LB with blazing speed like Cassilas who can be used in certain packages AND on ST's But that;s just me

    3. I loved most of your cap saving ideas and understand how a "Sanders-like" Royal would be attractive. However we are just now getting a glimpse of why the Pats brought in Amendola. (actually we got a full glimpse in the first Bills game, but most have forgotten). IF we can get his contract down to the $2MM range I'd like to keep him. He does a lot of little things like blocking and adds a lot of depth to ST's as well as WR. You also seemed to have completely dismissed Dobson, which I think is a mistake (unless you have some inside info that they have completely given up on him).

    I REALLY want to bring this entire receiver "band" back and see what another year together will bring. There is enough size speed and quickness in the guys we have now. Draft your red shirt guy late, but I think that between LaFell, Edelman, Amendola, Tyms, Dobson, Boyce, Wright, Gronk, give us a quality receiver group that is young enough to build upon for Brady's last 3 years . That being said, if they can't rework DA's contract, cut the bum and do your Royal thing. ;)

    4,. Initially I was all in on drafting the top OLman on the board with our first pick regardless of whether we trade up, down or stay at 32. But watching Vince get pushed around Saturday kind of scared me a bit. I have great hopes for Easley, but he's not an anchor type guy. I'm also not one who thinks we need a LOT of players this draft, so if you think we need to get into the low 20's to get a guy like Goldman or Phillips, I'd be all for it. If we can find a quality starter in the 4th round, I can realistically expect we can find one in the 2nd or 3rd.. But make no mistake, I want to find an OL starter in this draft.

    5. Goldman sounds awesome, but if Phillips shows he can stay low off the snap and has good knee bend to go along with that power, explosion and athleticism, I'm all in on him. The way the game's played today, a 6'6 guy in the middle with long arms is very attractive to me.

    6. As for a FA interior offensive linemen, I'll get back to you after I read more about them. I'd have to be very sure that the guy I'm replacing Connolly will be a significant upgrade before I give him starter FA money. If Bolling truly is that kind of guy, then I'd be all for it. It would make HAVING to get that OL starter in the draft a little less pressing.

    7. DL and OL are my only MUST haves in this draft. After that, I'd be all in on a high risk, high reward strategy going after guys coming off injuries, small school guys, and "character risks" And if we don't find someone we really like, trade the pick out another year even if you don't get full value.

    Thanks for this respite from the daily grind.
     
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  4. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks for the detailed comments, Ken. I'll address some of them individually, some as a group. I'll jump around a bit, too.
    My priority in this offseason is building both lines, primarily through the draft. I would look at offensive skill players (and DBs) on day 3, and possibly in FA if the values are within our price range. I thought I would at least explore the option that the Pats might be able to address some needs in free agency, not with big money targets but with mid-range guys in the Browner/LaFell contract range. I don't know if that will be feasible or if the right opportunities will be there, but I thought it was worth tossing out. I think that BB generally likes to plug holes in FA so that he doesn't go in to the draft with urgent needs.

    I think Connolly is nearing the end of his tenure as a starter. He could be back, but I don't have confidence that he can hold up as a starter, and I think an upgrade is needed at LG. Asking a rookie to step in right away is tough, so I could see going for a veteran if they are available within range. Boling is a VERY good pulling guard. Probably a long shot, but something to explore.

    I think the OL class is very deep, and I think that the Pats can get 2 very good linemen on day 2 and early day 3, even if they don't address the position in FA. I really like guys like Jeremiah Poutasi (think Mike Iupati) and Jake Fisher (think Kyle Long) on day 2, and guys like Jarvis Harrison, Donovan Smith, Robert Myles and Laken Tomlinson late day 2/early day 3.

    I think that 2015 will be Wilfork's last year, and I'm not even certain that he'll be back - $9M is an awful lot to pay, I don't see him taking a pay cut, and I don't want to push any money further out in the future on a guy who on the downturn of a great career. Getting a long term successor would be my highest priority, along with interior OL; DE would be just as important if Ayers is not re-signed, and I firmly believe in the value of rotation. I'm fine with any of Goldman, Brown and Phillips, and I doubt my final order will be set until after the Combine. I'm also warming to the idea (if Wilfork is not back for 2015, or if Branch is not re-signed) of doubling up on DT with an early pick plus East Carolina's Terry Williams late, especially if BB picks up an extra late round pick.
    I always considered Vaccaro a long shot, but again, I thought it was an idea worth floating. While I think he would have been a stud in the role I envision, I'm actually pretty content with Chung/Wilson/Ebner.

    To respond to your statement which I've bolded, I don't see much of a role for a traditional SS, either. But I think the "star" or "stud" DB position is one of the most important in a hybrid sub defense that I envision evolving.

    I think the Pats will play a multi-front hybrid defense, but I think that as long as the current rules favor the passing game, that we will see more and more domination by "sub" sets with 5 or more DBs. The game is played more in space than ever before, and being able to combat that is paramount. The Pats were in sub for almost 75% of the defensive snaps this year.

    I think that being able to play the entire game in sub and still stop the run is kind of a Holy Grail goal for the offense. To achieve this, you need a quality "star" or "stud" DB. The main roles of this DB as I see it merge those of a S (both free and strong), slot CB, and coverage/blitz LB, and include run support, functioning zone coverage, blitzing, covering TEs and RBs out of the backfield, and playing as a slot CB. I don't see this player as being a boundary (outside) CB, or being more than adequate as a deep safety. But I think that this player is paramount in helping to limit the run and to help take away the middle of the field, forcing teams to go outside against the strength of our CBs. Most coverage LBs can do some of this, but few are really quick enough to play slot CB, or to line up as a deep S and drop down as a robber. Traditional SSs don't have the skill set, either.

    Vaccaro can do all of those things, and excel at them. I think - and have discussed elsewhere - that Tavon Wilson also has many of these skills and had experience playing most of these roles in college, which is why BB "reached" for him in the 2nd round. Pat Chung has most of them, and experience playing a hybrid DB "roverback" position when he was at Oregon. Nate Ebner has the raw athleticism, but his skills are still limited in coverage; he seems to be developing better as a pure LB/S hybrid so far. But I'm reasonably content with that combination for now. But because I think that position is so important, I was open to an upgrade if Vaccaro was available.

    In keeping with that general direction, I also favor picking up a rotational DE who can play in space. In the past I was more focused on a "jumbo" DE who could play LDE in a 4-3 Under, DE in a 3-4, or move inside in sub packages. But I'm probably more interested in a more athletic and explosive variation of Ninkovich at the moment - someone who can set the edge and rush the passer, but also who excels in space. That's why I'm so interested in guys like Danielle Hunter, Bud Dupree and Max Valles. Valles in particular I think could become a Jamie Collins kind of player with his combination of explosivenes and ability to excel in space.
    Amendola's showing in the divisional game against Baltimore certainly argues for another year. Clearly he can produce when given the chance. Some of his numbers were due to being caught in a numbers game as the #3 WR when the Pats played far fewer 3 WR sets than in previous years. I wouldn't be averse to having him back for one more year if his contract can be re-worked. As far as your statement which I've bolded, last year I had exactly the same hope regarding Amendola/Dobson/Thompkins/Boyce, who combined for a grand total of 36 receptions for 291 yards and 1 TD in the regular season. I'd like a little more productivity from the back end of the receiver group, no matter who. I'm all in favor of bringing in some late round draft competition as well. I love the depth at WR in this draft, and feel that there will be some really good players available in the late rounds.

    Whatever happens, it will be fun to see how things play out. We're blessed to have such a talented, deep, and stable team with so many players totally committed and aligned in terms of their priorities. The apparent melt-down in Denver is another reminder of how special this organization is.
     
  5. Gabriel_p94

    Gabriel_p94 On the Game Day Roster

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    I think it's just me but I have a feeling wilfork might rework his contract in the offseason. But maybe that's just me being optimistic.
     
  6. Luxusdk

    Luxusdk Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Mayo you talk about rotation Guys, ALL signs shows BB dont rotate Chandler and Rob. Why should he suddenly start to do so? Im aboard with you on this, but clearly BB aint?
     
  7. luuked

    luuked Pro Bowl Player

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    The way Denver is falling apart I really hope that we can sign Knighton away from them.

    Emotionally it will be hard to move on from Big Vince but it is only a matter of time now and better to be in control of the situation.

    I prefer not to use up additional picks to trade up for a DT in R1 and also dont want to risk missing out on a Big Vince replacement. Knighton seems like an ideal (if expensive) compromise.
     
  8. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You may be correct, but I think that has to change. We had no pass rush against Baltimore, holding or no holding. Ninkovich was rather ineffective - Marshall Yanda no doubt had a lot to do with that, but Nink will be 31 and DE's tend to lose a step (see: DeMarcus Ware) and wear down. I think it would be a massive mistake to count on Ninkovich playing 95% of the defensive snaps again and expect him to be effective in the playoffs. JMHO. Again, you may be correct - but this is a "backdraft".
     
  9. patfanken

    patfanken PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think everyone agrees with this. It's amazing that Ninko has lasted this long without showing the wear and tear we saw on Saturday. He's played an enormous amount of smaps the last 3 years. That being said for next year we HAVE to hope that either Buchanon or Moore can develop into that rotational DE next season. It would be a really big disappointment for me if one or both didn't take the next step.
    Vince is is going to be a big issue. He too is also wearing down if what I saw Saturday is any indication. He more than doubled the number of snaps I expected him to get....which was great at the time. But if he might not be needed to be a big factor this week, he certainly will be needed to be an impact player in the next game regardless of who comes out of the NFC.

    But as to 2015, you have to ask yourself , how much punishment can a man's body take. Its not just that he;'s been in the league 11 or 12 years, its that long constantly fighting double teams and playing 80%+ of the snaps every year. Just what can we reasonably expect?????

    I think Vince is too proud to do another contract redo, or take the cut he probably needs to take. So the Pats are going to have to decide whether to let him go or give him that extra year for services well rendered. Normally I'd laugh at the latter and say see ya later. But Vince, like Tom, is a special case. I can actually see him be allowed to finish up herre.
     
  10. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    As dlivery noted on the draft prospect thread:

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england...ds/2015-draft-prospect-thread.1065632/page-41 (post #812)

    I find this very appealing. Terry Williams is a pure NT/DT IMO, but one with excellent penetrating ability and quickness for his size. He's reminiscent of Brandon Williams, a board pinky who the Ravens picked up in the 3rd round in 2013, and who appears to be a really solid addition to their DL.

    As I mentioned on the defensive blueprint thread, I think the Pats will use a lot of different looks in both base and sub in a multi-front hybrid defense, but I also think that there will be 2 dominant schemes:

    1. A 4-2-1-4 (or 2-4-1-4) hybrid "sub" defense, which the Pats may likely run the majority of the time. I think this is the most important scheme for which to optimize. The key elements are:

    - 4 very versatile players who can line up interchangeably either on the line or at the LB level. Jones, Ninkovich, Ayers, Hightower and Collins all fit this mold. Buchanan may eventually get there. I'd like to add another player who could fit in this role. Max Valles, Bud Dupree and Danielle Hunter seem like good candidates to me.

    - 2 tackles that can hold the front against the run but who can also get upfield and disrupt. Dominique Easley will hopefully fill one of these roles. Ideally, I'd like to see the other DT be a bigger guy who can 2-gap and chew up blockers, but also penetrate and disrupt. Eddie Goldman, Malcolm Brown and Jordan Phillips are the 3 guys who I could se excelling in this role.

    - A deep safety who can guard the deep part of the field and the middle of the field. Devin McCourty is ideal for this role. Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon can also play this role.

    - 3 CBs who can match up in man coverage effectively. Revis, Browner and Arrington are a very good start. I'd like to see 1 bigger CB for depth against teams who have packages featuring multiple bigger WRs.

    - A "stud" or "star" hybrid DB who can play as a 3rd LB, 4th CB, and either safety position. Mostly this will involve run support, blitzing, dropping into zone coverage, and matching up with TEs and RBs. But this player has to also be able to play slot CB, and to play some deep safety for 2 deep looks (or to line up in that look and then drop down as a robber). This is where I saw Kenny Vaccaro being such a good fit. Pat Chung and Tavon Wilson both have the skill set and experience to play that role at a high level. Their development is a major storyline to follow for 2015, IMO - if either or both can develop further, it will add a major dimension to this defense.

    2. A "big" defense used mainly in "base" and against run heavy teams. This hybrid would morph between 5-2, 4-3 Under, and 3-4 fronts depending on how the edge players are deployed, but in all cases would feature 3 "big" lineman. Herod Mayo would excel in this scheme at MLB.

    Eddie Goldman played end last year for Florida St., and I think he could excel in both schemes, which is part of why I like him so much.

    Another consideration is Vince Wilork's wear and tear, as Ken noted above:
    I agree that Wilfork is a "special case". But from a long term perspective and from a cap conscious point of view, I could see it making more sense to keep Alan Branch and let Wilfork go, and then add a couple of young guys like Goldman and Terry Williams. Get 2 years out of Branch while Terry Williams develops, and again, emphasize a rotation to keep guys fresh. I doubt it will happen, though.
     
  11. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    This team is what it is because BB isn't sentimental. Sure, I'd like to bring VW back. But, even if you want to do that. You have to admit it's probably for one year. With his cap number. We can re-up 3-4 valuable pieces for more than ONE year; Siliga, Branch, Ayers and Chung(Already signed) for those dollars. You won't like this either. But, I don't see us beating Seattle either. It will be a lot easier to make some changes if we lose in the Super Bowl.

    I'd like to get a DT and a DE with 2 of our first 3 picks. If we go DT in Round 1, not sure we get the edge rusher in Round 3. But, if we go de in Round 1 or 2. I think Terry Williams in Round 3 is a better player than any edge rusher we get there.
     
  12. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm not sure I see Terry Williams in the 3rd right now - that seems like a bit of a leap, especially given his off-field question marks.

    My draft will depend considerably on re-signings and FA, but right now it's looking like:

    1st. DT or EDGE. If one of Eddie Goldman, Malcolm Brown or Jordan Phillips is available, then I'm leaning that way, as I prefer the depth at EDGE and OL.

    2nd. EDGE or OL. Max Valles is the guy I really want, with Danielle Hunter close behind. DeForest Buckner would be high on the list if he declares. Owamagbe Odighizuwa could be a fit here as well. A trade up is ok with me.

    3rd. OL or EDGE. Again, a trade up is fine with me. Jake Fisher and Jeremiah Poutasi are the guys I really like. This could be with our 3rd, with a trade up, or with our projected comp pick, depending on what we do.

    3rd/4th. OL, unless addressed in FA. This is where guys like Jarvis Harrison, Robert Myles, Donovan Smith and Laken Tomlinson might fit.
     
  13. Get it shawtaay

    Get it shawtaay Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Smelter is a HUGE sleeper.

    Big enough to win balls, quick enough to create separation, fast enough to get by people, shifty enough to get YAC, catches the ball clean. He reminds me of Boldin a bit. The sleeker version. If he were healthy/playing for a team that actually throws the ball he'd be a household name I think.

    Good stuff as usual Mayoclinic. Royal makes a lot of sense.
     
  14. Get it shawtaay

    Get it shawtaay Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    As for Max Valles - do you really prefer him to Harold, or is that after taking availability into account? I'm not sure what his NFL position is, reminds me of Buchanan in terms of being a lanky pursuit player. Those guys are heavily scheme dependent IMO
     
  15. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Welcome back, Brother Shaw. Nice to hear from you.

    Max Valles is my favorite EDGE prospect in the draft, followed by Danielle Hunter and Bud Dupree. DeForest Buckner could also be in the mix if he declares, though he's a completely different player. I think Valles has rare explosiveness and movement skills in space. He's much more fluid than Buchanan, having played WR and S in the past. He's young and raw, and needs to bulk up a bit and develop his combat techniques, but I think he could be a Collins kind of matchup nightmare down the road - "I'm not sure what his position is" was part of what kept Jamie Collins available to the 2nd round. Harold is a nice player - a LEO type who reminds me a bit of Chris Clemons - but I don't think he has Valles' versatility or mismatch potential.
     
  16. Get it shawtaay

    Get it shawtaay Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Thanks man. I don't read the PatsFans forum, but I find myself coming back every year for the annual discussion of Grizzlies and HalfBacks, queens on chessboards, the leading edge of the NFL strategy, etc.

    Valles hasn't looked natural to me going around the edge, when I was watching the UVA defense I felt like his size really worked against him. But the position change does bode well - guys who are earlier along in their development are a great place to look for buying opportunities.
     
  17. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Hall of Fame Poster

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    I give up.
     
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  18. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You should check him out, Manx. :D
     
  19. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    Guess I will do one of these and Use Miguel's page as a reference. It will include 3 steps (restructure's & cuts, FA signings, draft) and I will only talk about 2015 cap considerations.

    You are at about 149 and need to be down to no higher than 144 (142+2 rollover) but probably even less.

    #1 Extend Revis - save 10m
    #2 Restructure Mayo - save 3m
    #3 Restructure Wilfork - save 3m
    #4 Extend Solder (after the Suggs game i am okay with this) - save 4m
    #5 Restructure Amendola (again after Baltimore he finally looks healthy worth the #3 spot but with a pay cut) - save 2m
    #6 Restructure Hooman - save .5m (after seeing the FAs and draft picks available I don't love anyone. Keep him 1 more year but at a reduced price.
    #7 Cut Dennard - save 1m
    #8 Extend Vollmer - savings 2m

    Total saves of 25.5M which gives us 20.5M to sign FAs.

    #1 Sign McCourty - 5M (goes up next year)
    #2 Sign Casillas - 1.5M
    #3 Sign Connolly 3M (him and Solder just seem to work. I don't wanna risk breaking it up and ride it 1 more year).
    #4 Sign Ridley - 1M (1 year)
    #5 Sign Ayers - 3.5M
    #6 Sign Gost - 3.5M

    Total spending - 17.5M (3M left for emergency and other). - Branch and Vereen are odd men out : (

    Current draft plan

    #1 Cameron Erving - I would love to get La'el Collins but I am sure he will rise back up before draft day. Erving can play all 5 spots like Mankins and would allow Wendell to be a backup to provide quality depth to all 3 interior spots.

    #2 - TRADE - Using our 2nd and 3rd-

    - Jordan Phillips - DT - With Branch gone we need some good "big" depth here.

    #3comp - Phillip Dorsett - WR - A fast WR that goes down field which is the only thing the O lacked this year.

    #4TB - TRADE - Trade this pick away for a 3rd next year. It will be in perfect position to do so.

    #4 - Preston Smith - DE - 6'6 265 lbs. He may need a red shirt year but is a good pick up and can fight Moore/ Chris Jones for a roster spot if he steps up this year.

    Everyone below this point is PS, red shirt or cut likely.

    Final Roster

    Offense - 25

    QB - 2 - Brady Gara
    TE - 3 - Gronk Wright Hooman
    WR - 6 - Edelman Lafell Amendola Dorsett* Dobson Slater
    OL - 9 - Solder Connolly Stork Cameron Erving* Vollmer Wendell Cannon Flemming Kline
    RB - 5 - Ridley Gaffney/Blount? Grey Develin Bolden

    Defense - 25

    DE - 5 - Jones Nink Ayers Smith* Moore
    DT - 5 - Wilfork Siliga Easley Phillips* Jones
    LB - 5 - Mayo Hightower Collins Casilla White
    CB - 5 - Revis Browner Arrington Bulter Ryan
    S - 5 - McCourty Chung Harmon Wilson Ebner

    ST - 3 - Gost, Ryan, Aiken
     
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  20. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Fine job. You might want to also post this in Grid's Backdraft thread, which was intended as a placeholder for everyone's working thoughts.

    I just want to respond to one thing:
    I would comment on a couple of things here:

    1. We don't know yet what the cap will be for 2015. The early projection (between $148.6 and $141.8M) is usually on the low side. Last year I used the higher range in the projection ($128M), and the actual cap came in even higher. There are rumors that the cap will actually be between $142 and $144M, and probably closer to the latter number, so I've erred on the high side and used $144M. There's no right or wrong. You are taking a more conservative approach, as you are with the amount of money being rolled over.

    2. One of the reasons that I am comfortable taking a more aggressive working approach is that I've left some "wiggle room" in by not addressing things such as a Wilfork restructure, which you have included. That could potentially lower my projections in the case where the working space was more limited.

    3. It's very important to remember the "rule of 51". Until the regular season actually starts in September, only the top 51 players actually count towards the cap. In my scenario in the OP, after restructuring, the cap hits for the top 51 plus the dead cap hit totaled $142.4M ($137.8M + $4,6M). UDFA signings and low budget training camp tryout signings generally don't factor in, because they are for an amount which is below the top 51 (and even if they are, the increase over the previous top 51 is generally minimal), and most don't make it to the final roster (and if they do, they often bump a player with a higher cap hit off). So there is some wiggle room. That also allows the team to keep some players on the roster who could be cap casualties. Hooman is a good example. Cutting him saves around $1M in cap space, but the Pats can probably wait until training camp and see how he does against the competition. Those cuts will often free up more working cap space for potential use during the season (as the Logan Mankins trade did this year).
     

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