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

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Sep 12th

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mayoclinic

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I was a big fan of Spiller in 2010, and was interested in him for the Pats. Never expected him to go #10 overall, which was a big reach. I think he would be a terrific weapon, but I'm not sure what his market value will be. I'd take him over Vereen, but I wouldn't break the bank, and I don't think BB is willing to spend on any RB.

Another guy I like is Knowshon Moreno. I wanted the Pats to sign him last year in FA. I thought he would be a starting caliber back with receiving skills who would add a dimension to the offense. Moreno, like Spiller was a high draft choice who didn't live up to his draft status, and who had one really good year, but who has an intriguing skill set. He signed a 1 year/$3M contract with Miami, so not huge money, and then tore his ACL. He'll probably hit the market (especially with the emergence of Lamar Miller), and won't command much coming off of an injury:

http://espn.go.com/blog/miami-dolph...-expect-knowshon-moreno-to-return-to-dolphins

The guy who I'd actually like to make a run at if the RB market is soft is Ryan Mathews, a bigger back than Spiller and with terrific receiving and blocking skills. Like Spiller and Moreno, a high 1st round pick (taken 2 picks after Spiller in the 2010 draft), fairly young, and with a career marked by inconsistency and injuries. Still another former high draft pick who never lived up to it is Darren McFadden.

I think any of these guys would be good paired with Blount and the others in a RBBC. I'd address other needs first, see what the market is like, and potentially snag one if the value is there and the money available, but I wouldn't make it a priority over a starting caliber guard. I'm guessing that with so many of these guys available that the market will be soft.

There are early reports that DeMarco Murray will hit FA this season. Des Bryant and Murray are both FAs, and the Cowboys will be hard pressed to re-sign both. They've apparently made it clear that they are willing to spend big for keep Bryant, but they have reportedly low-balled Murray with a 4 year/$16M offer that isn't going to get them anywhere. Reports yesterday was that he will likely be allowed to leave in FA, with the Cowboys confident in their OL and a draft stacked at RB to fill the void.

ESPN's Matt Williamson discussed 7 teams that could potentially make a run at Murray. #7 on his list:

7. New England Patriots

Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley are free agents and might not be back. Meanwhile, the Patriots just opened up a ton of cap space by reworking Tom Brady's contract, though much of that could go to Darrelle Revis. LeGarrette Blount will return to the team next season, and he currently sits atop New England's running back depth chart, but he isn't nearly the player Murray is. It could be the point in Brady's career -- though he is still playing at a very high level -- to take some burden off his shoulders. A running game led by Murray would have the potential to do exactly that, especially if the Patriots can add some interior offensive line help. Bill Belichick and Brady might not have a lot of years left together -- why not go all-in with an aggressive move such as this?

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/12155265/teams-pursue-demarco-murray-free-agency-nfl

Seems like a very long shot to me (and probably why the Pats were the last team listed), and we've seen how "all in" worked out for the Broncos, but something to think about.
 

mayoclinic

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The Patriots have opened up a ton of cap space by re-working Tom Brady's contract. ??? You can stop reading right there.

Yeah. Clueless. It never ceases to amaze me what some people who are paid to keep on top of things will put out. I understand that they aren't necessarily focusing on one team, but still.

I think it is within the realm of possibility that the Pats can manage things to have enough money to spend a bit on an outside FA, but I just can't see BB doing it on a RB. His track record is clearly that he de-values the RB position, that he prefers a RBBC approach, and that he tends to go after lower profile signings. Murray has a great skill set, but it just doesn't seem likely, even if the cap space were there. It does seem like the kind of thing John Elway would do in Denver - get a bell cow back to take some pressure off Peyton Manning's noodle arm, and load up with more big names in FA to win the "off-season Super Bowl". Then we could listen to more "I can't stand it!" threads about how the Broncos have gone all-in and the cheap-skate Pats don't spend to improve the team.
 

midwestpatsfan

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
There is a history of running backs regressing after a season like Murray had. He had a ton of touches this year and that takes its toll. Murray also has an injury history. If this report is true, I actually think the Cowboys are doing the smart thing. I would be wary to give Murray a big contract.
 

manxman2601

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There is a history of running backs regressing after a season like Murray had. He had a ton of touches this year and that takes its toll. Murray also has an injury history. If this report is true, I actually think the Cowboys are doing the smart thing. I would be wary to give Murray a big contract.


I'm more interested in Mark Ingram as a fit for the Pats

Those wondering what's up with Ingram, a league source indicates there have been NO conversations about his return

https://twitter.com/UnderhillAdv/status/555394355583016960
 

AzPatsFan

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
That's certainly something to follow, though I think that BB was influenced by the run-heavy Ravens. I also note that the pass rush was anemic yesterday - more Ayers might have been a good thing.

You might call the pass rush anemic, but it wasn't really. If Jamie Collins' strip sack and recovery at the 2-yard line had not been erased by a flukey PDI on Revis. You would be marveling about the defensive play. A very likely subsequent TD would have opened an 11 point gap between the Pats and Ravens turning it into a comfortable 40-berger rout.
 

Miguel

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FYI - The official carryover amounts can be found at https://nflpa.com/public-salary-cap-report. Has the Patriots number as $6,442,054 which is more than the cap space they ended with so I suspect that the Patriots received a credit for the Hernandez grievance. Do not know if the Patriots will get then debited on the 2015 adjusted cap number like they did on the Patriots 2014 cap ($32,800).
 

mayoclinic

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FYI - The official carryover amounts can be found at https://nflpa.com/public-salary-cap-report. Has the Patriots number as $6,442,054 which is more than the cap space they ended with so I suspect that the Patriots received a credit for the Hernandez grievance. Do not know if the Patriots will get then debited on the 2015 adjusted cap number like they did on the Patriots 2014 cap ($32,800).

Thanks for this. Very useful, and very welcome. So if I understand it, we currently have $151,523,797 in cap commitments (including dead cap hit). If the league cap is $144K as I am assuming, then with the rollover we will have $150,552,054 as our 2015 adjusted cap, so we will be over by about $1M. Obviously a lower league wide cap makes that number bigger.
 

Miguel

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Thanks for this. Very useful, and very welcome. So if I understand it, we currently have $151,523,797 in cap commitments (including dead cap hit). If the league cap is $144K as I am assuming, then with the rollover we will have $150,552,054 as our 2015 adjusted cap, so we will be over by about $1M. Obviously a lower league wide cap makes that number bigger.

The Pats adjusted cap number will be lowered by at least 4m because of reached NLTBE incentives in 2014. Could also be lowered by a Hernandez debit and any injury grievances.
 

mayoclinic

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The Pats adjusted cap number will be lowered by at least 4m because of reached NLTBE incentives in 2014. Could also be lowered by a Hernandez debit and any injury grievances.

Ouch. Thanks - I think.
 

Miguel

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Plus, the pats will lose 1 million in cap space if they win on Sunday because Edelman's 500k incentive will change from NLTBE to LTBE plus the adjusted cap number will be lowered by 500K since an NLTBE incentive was reached
 

mayoclinic

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Plus, the pats will lose 1 million in cap space if they win on Sunday because Edelman's 500k incentive will change from NLTBE to LTBE plus the adjusted cap number will be lowered by 500K since an NLTBE incentive was reached

Another ouch. The price of success.

It seems clearer and clear to me that Mayo's and Wilfork's deals have to give, along with a Revis extension that lowers his cap hit. It sounds like we will be about $5M over the adjusted cap when all is said and done, and the other moves just won't make enough room to keep everyone. But the Pats can free up about $4M by cutting/tradding Amendola with a post-June 1 designation, $4.5M by converting $6M of Brady's base salary to signing bonus, around $4M with a likely Mayo restructure, $8-10M with a long term deal for Revis, and $7M by cutting Wilfork, which would free up around $27.5-29.5M and put them around $22.5-25M under the cap with Revis signed. That would give them plenty of room to re-sign McCourty, Ayers, Branch, Casillas, Goskowski and the rest. Take away Wilfork's $7M cap savings and things get tight.
 

mayoclinic

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BTW, a shout out to Miguel for participating in this thread - a novel foray onto the draft board for him, but very valuable to have this kind of cap input.
 

Miguel

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BTW, a shout out to Miguel for participating in this thread - a novel foray onto the draft board for him, but very valuable to have this kind of cap input.
You are welcome.
 

BobDigital

Pro Bowl Player
My current post Superbowl off season plan. I am going to go by Miguel's numbers that after counting everything the Pats are about 4 Million over. Some call this conservative but I will go with it for now. Also this will only factor in the 2015 cap.

Cuts/Restructuring

Cuts - Dennard - 1M
Cuts - T. Wilson - 1M
Restructure - Wilfork 4M
Restructure - Mayo 4M
Restructure - Revis - 10M
Restructure - Vollmer - 2M
Restructure - Amendola - 2M

Total savings - 24 million - 4 million = 20 Million to use.

Sign - McCourty - 4.5M
Sign - Connolly - 3M
Sign - Vereen - 3M
Sign - Ridley - .5M
Sign - Ayers - 2.5M
Sign - Gostkowski - 3.5M
Let Walk - Branch : (
Let Walk - Casillas : (
(everyone else is basically cap neutral)

Money used 17M (3M left for emergency)

Draft - only first 4 rounds.

#32 - Malcom Brown - DT
#53 (Trade your 4th and #62 to move up) Tomlinson - G
#96 - Preston Smith - DE
3rd comp - Josh Shaw - CB/S
4th (TB) - Stafon Diggs - WR
4th - TRADED

Offense - 25

QB - 2 - Brady Garo
RB - 5 - Vereen Ridley Blount Develin Bolden
WR - 6 - Edelman Lafell Amendola Dobson Diggs* Slater
TE - 3 - Gronk Wright Hooman
OL - 9 - Solder Connolly Stork Tomlinson* Vollmer Cannon Wendell Flemming Kline

Defense - 25

DT - 5 - Wilfork Siliga Easley Brown* Jones
DE - 5 - Jones Nink Ayers Smith* Moore
LB - 5 - Hightower Collins Mayo Flemming White
CB - 5 - Revis Browner Arrington Butler Ryan
S - 5 - McCourty Chung Shaw* Harmon Ebener
 

mayoclinic

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I hadn't looked at this thread in a while. It seems a bit out of date. I clearly under-estimated the cap hit of all the incentives being accrued - the cost of winning a Super Bowl.

Clearly something had to give with FA 5 days away. Vince Wilfork being let go was an obvious first step, though a sad one to see finally come to pass. It's not out of the question that he'll be back at a reduced cost.

At this point I think that the Pats need to let Revis and McCourty test FA if a deal can't be worked out in the next 4 days, and let them decide whether they want to say with the team. Then they can proceed from there.
 

BobDigital

Pro Bowl Player
Every off season plan involving keeping a restructured Wilfork now is wrong. So I am not off to such a good start - 0 for 1.
 

mayoclinic

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Bump. With FA about to commence and Devin McCourty re-signed long term (making the Pats about $9M over the cap), here's my revised "backdraft" for 2015:

Moves that Create Cap Space:

1. Sign Darrelle Revis to a long term deal. I'm ignoring for now whether it happens in the next 24 hours, row whether the Pats decline Revis' option and let him test FA before re-signing him. I'll stick with the estimate in the OP: 4 years / $60M, $45M guaranteed, $20M signing bonus. Say $10M 2015 cap hit, for a $10M savings over his current cap hit, putting the Pats about $1M under the cap.

2. Convert $7M of TB's salary into signing bonus. Saves $5M of cap space, per Miguel.

3. Restructure Jerod Mayo. Miguel thinks about $4M of cap space can be saved.

4. Cut Danny Amendola with a post-June 1 designation. Saves about $4M, Miguel.

5. Cut Michael Hoomanawanui. Saves about $1.2M.

6. Minor restructurings/extensions for Sebastian Vollmer, Brandon Browner and Kyle Arrington. Should save about $3M in cap space.

7. I'd kick the tires on trade offers for Alfonzo Dennard. Trading Dennard would free up $1M in cap space.

Those moves should create nearly $20M in cap space, with Revis and McCourty signed long term. More space will hopefully be created by long term deals for Nate Solder and Stephen Gostkowski, but that's enough for now.

FA Signings / Re-Signings:

With about $20M to spend, I'd consider the following:

1. 3rd down RB: I'd let Shane Vereen walk if the market is more than $2.5-3M/year, and sign Pierre Thomas, who was cut by New Orleans. I'd guess 2 years/$3M with incentives for Thomas, 2015 cap hit of $1.5M.

2. WR: I'd look at Brian Hartline and Eddie Royal. Percy Harvin could be an option on a 1 year "prove it" deal if he's willing to take a major cut, but I'd be wary.

3. Move TE: I'd look at Lance Kendricks from St. Louis, who could be a cheap pick up. Anthony Fasano could be an option as well. Jordan Cameron would be great, but is likely too price.

4. LG: I'd kick the tires on Clint Boling and James Carpenter. If the market for them is too pricey (which I would expect), then I'd re-sign Dan Connolly, for Ryan Wendell money.

5. EDGE: I'd let Akeem Ayers test the market. There are a lot of good EDGE players available: Brian Orakpo, Brooks Reed and Jabaal Sheard, among others. (Pernell McPhee has already signed with Chicago, and Jerry Hughes with Buffalo). I'd pick the best available market value among them. Ideally I'd love to re-sign Ayers and get Sheard, but I doubt that's feasible.

6. DT: Ideally, I'd love to get both Ahtyba Rubin from Cleveland and Kenrick Ellis from the Jets. That would give a terrific big-DT run stuffing rotation along with Sealver Siliga. Alan Branch could be back for the right price, but I'd kick the tires on other options. Dan Williams would be great, but will probably be overpriced.

7. LB depth: I'd let Jonathan Casillas test the market, and hopefully re-sign him on the cheap.

8. I'd try to sign RFA FB/H-Back James Develin to a multi-year low-cost deal.

I'd squeeze as many of these under the cap as I possibly could. None of them should break the bank, and I wouldn't reach for any single player. Ideally I'd end up with something like:

- RB Pierre Thomas ($1.5M 2015 cap hit)
- WR Brian Hartline ($3M 2015 cap hit)
- FB/H-Back James Develin ($700K 2015 cap hit)
- Move TE Lance Kendricks ($1.3M 2015 cap hit)
- OG Clint Boling ($4.5M 2015 cap hit) or Dan Connolly ($1.5M cap hit)
- EDGE Akeem Akers ($2.7M 2015 cap hit)
- EDGE Jabaal Sheard ($3.3M 2015 cap hit)
- DT Ahytba Rubin ($3M 2015 cap hit)
- DT Kenrick Ellis ($2M 2015 cap hit)
- LB/ST Jonathan Casillas ($1M 2015 cap hit)

That's $20M with Connolly instead of Boling, and $23M with Boling. The list isn't precise, it's flexible, and it can be tweaked depending on the market specifics. The market will determine a lot. If someone like Boling ends up over-priced and a TE like Jordan Cameron is underpriced, the Pats could take advantage of it.

I would argue that if the Pats can achieve anything like that, they would be significantly improved over the 2014 roster. Going into the draft the roster would look something like:

QB(2): Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo
RB(4): LeGarrette Blount, Pierre Thomas; 2 out of Tyler Gaffney, James White, Jonas Gray and Dion Lewis
FB/Move TE(1): James Develin
WR(5): Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Brian Hartline, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce/Brian Tyms
TE(3): Rob Gronkowski, Tim Wright, Lance Kendricks
OL(9): Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Clint Boling/Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork, Ryan Wendell, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Fleming, Josh Kline, Jordan Devey

DT(3): Sealver Siliga, Ahtyba Rubin, Kenrick Ellis
DT/DE(2): Dominique Easley, Chris Jones
DE(5): Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Michael Buchanan, Zach Moore; Akeem Ayers can also play DE
LB(5): Jerod Mayo, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Akeem Ayers, Jonathan Casillas
S(5): Devin McCourty, Pat Chung, Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner
CB(5-6): Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington, Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, [Alfonzo Dennard]

ST(4): Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, LS, Matt Slater

I think that roster doesn't have any major weaknesses, heading into the draft, which would allow BB to focus on finding the best values and fits. With few weaknesses and roster spots, I'd target a 3-down RB, a versatile DT/DE, a versatile OL, a developmental WR and a DB to pipeline. That's about it. My draft would look something like:

1(32): I'd take RB Todd Gurley if he's available. Otherwise I'd trade back and/or trade into 2016. If I traded back I'd take a RB like Jay Ajayi, Tevin Coleman or David Johnson.
2(64): Marcus Hardison, DT/DE, Arizona St. 6'3" 307#. Like Easley, he can play anywhere from the 0/1 to the 9 tech. He would be a major upgrade from Chris Jones.
*** Trade up from 96 to the early-mid 3rd round, using our 4th round pick.
3(mid): Ali Marpet, OL, Hobart. 6'4" 307#.
3(97 - projected comp pick): Take a RB if not taken earlier, or take the best available CB. Need to keep the pipeline going. Byron Jones will probably be long gone, but Eric Rowe, Jacoby Glenn, Ronald Darby, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Justin Cox or Josh Shaw could be good values.
4(from TB, around 101). Take the best available CB here if not done with the 3rd round comp pick, or trade into 2016.
6(from TB). DeAndre Smelter, WR, Georgia Tech. 6'2" 222#. Will get a redshirt year. Kenny Bell, Darren Waller or Chris Conley could also be options.
6 (projected comp pick). BVA.
7 (from Tenn). BVA, or use in trade.

From the roster above, I'd upgrade Chris Jones to Marcus Hardison (or cut a DE like Buchanan or Moore), would upgrade one of the RBs, would upgrade Kline/Devey to Ali Marpet, would replace Alfonzo Dennard with a bigger CB who can provide outside depth and eventually succeed Brandon Browner, and red-shirt a developmental WR like DeAndre Smelter (or provide competition of Boyce/Tyms at the end of the WR depth chart).

I think that would be a darn good team. Better than 2014, on paper.
 
Last edited:

mayoclinic

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BTW, in the above discussion, RB is not a need in the draft. It's an opportunity. With the deepest and strongest RB class in memory and a devalued position, the Pats could add a player who could really add a dimension to the offense, as long as they don't have to reach to fill needs through the draft.
 

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