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Malcolm Butler released by the Titans

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DropKickFlutie

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
I'm starting to warm up to, I think @robertweathers suggestion of even moving on from existing older guys like High, Chung, Cannon, etc. to free up even more cap space.

Imagine having $90M going into a free agency and being able to fill in DL, DE, LB, WR, TE, S, with younger veteran talent. Full on rebuild but with proven talent. Then team would only be a QB away from another SB run.

Well we're set at qb now so..
 

203Pat

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
The Patriots are going to be spending some real money on offense in free agency at QB, WR and OL. The defense needs only a couple of players to elevate it from a very good unit to an elite unit.

My guess is they bring back their own DL free agents - Lawrence Guy (31), Dietrich Wise (27) and maybe Adam Butler (27) who will be the most costly. I think they'll draft one DL with one of the top 4 picks, maybe even #1 if the right nose tackle is on the board. Otherwise the defense is loaded with young guys on good deals. Adding Hightower and Van Noy (at the right price) restores the LB group to elite level, Butler, at 31, will be affordable and a plug and play. The secondary is set unless they trade Gilmore for a QB. As @robertweathers says above, Clayborn was/is a good rotational veteran. If what Mayo and Belichick the younger continue with an "amoeba" defense, there's always room for veterans who can fill gaps or come off the edge.
They are no where near close to elite on defense. In all likelihood their number one corner is gone, JC Jackson showed he isn't ready to be a number one guy last year and may be gone soon anyways, Devin is 47 years old, JMac is hopefully gone, and JoeJuan looks like a bust. Maybe Duggar steps up and him and Phillips fill in Chung's role (unless he is still on the team and we have a logjam at the SS spot.

The LB group is a mess. Hightower is getting up there and usually gets banged up for a couple games a year. Bentley proved he is a rotational role player and not a starter. Jennings may or may not be able to play. Hall is another role player who may end up as a starter. The edge guys, Uche and Wino, have a lot to prove and hopefully they step up (and Wino shuts up)

The D line desperately needs a space eater since Shelton walked and Beau Allen may just be a figment of our imaginations. I think Guy might be back since he should be relatively cheap but I wouldn't be surprised if Butler gets more than we are willing to pay. Wise is a low end rotational guy who could come back for cheap.

Regardless this defense needs linebackers (preferably athletic ones) badly. The secondary will likely look very different and the defensive line needs another starting caliber player in pretty much every spot.
 

goheels22002

PatsFans.com Supporter
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They are no where near close to elite on defense. In all likelihood their number one corner is gone, JC Jackson showed he isn't ready to be a number one guy last year and may be gone soon anyways, Devin is 47 years old, JMac is hopefully gone, and JoeJuan looks like a bust. Maybe Duggar steps up and him and Phillips fill in Chung's role (unless he is still on the team and we have a logjam at the SS spot.

The LB group is a mess. Hightower is getting up there and usually gets banged up for a couple games a year. Bentley proved he is a rotational role player and not a starter. Jennings may or may not be able to play. Hall is another role player who may end up as a starter. The edge guys, Uche and Wino, have a lot to prove and hopefully they step up (and Wino shuts up)

The D line desperately needs a space eater since Shelton walked and Beau Allen may just be a figment of our imaginations. I think Guy might be back since he should be relatively cheap but I wouldn't be surprised if Butler gets more than we are willing to pay. Wise is a low end rotational guy who could come back for cheap.

Regardless this defense needs linebackers (preferably athletic ones) badly. The secondary will likely look very different and the defensive line needs another starting caliber player in pretty much every spot.

Ask and ye shall receive...how do you feel this morning after the signings of Wise, Godchaux, Judon, Anderson and Mills? Add Chung and Hightower as returning veterans, and a couple draft picks on defense among the five selections in the first 4 rounds. The defense will be fine with a nice mix of veterans and guys on their rookie deals.

I disagree about the linebacking corps by the way. Hightower, Judon, Bentley and Jennings is an excellent 3- 4 group with Wise, Winowich, and Simon as rotational LBs. The other thing I love about this defense is the safety group that can step up and deliver when they blitz or put six in the box.
 

203Pat

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Ask and ye shall receive...how do you feel this morning after the signings of Wise, Godchaux, Judon, Anderson and Mills? Add Chung and Hightower as returning veterans, and a couple draft picks on defense among the five selections in the first 4 rounds. The defense will be fine with a nice mix of veterans and guys on their rookie deals.

I disagree about the linebacking corps by the way. Hightower, Judon, Bentley and Jennings is an excellent 3- 4 group with Wise, Winowich, and Simon as rotational LBs. The other thing I love about this defense is the safety group that can step up and deliver when they blitz or put six in the box.
I love what they did yesterday. Don't love every one of the players individually but I am glad that Bill went out and plugged some holes and added both starters and a few role players. I like the addition of Godchaux, who I admit I don't know a ton about, as well as Anderson on the D-line. I don't know if that takes Guy out of the mix but I would think there is still a chance he is back. I am not a huge fan of Mills the player but he didn't get a ton of money and he is very versatile and I think with Phillips and Duggar's (I think Chung is going to be cut) versatility that is a good mix and Mills won't have to more than he is capable of.

I think Judon will ultimately help the development of Uche and Winovich as they can play opposite Judon until one emerge as the true starter on the other edge. I don't know what the real money is for Wise but he is a solid rotational D lineman who helps add depth but I still think we need to add another LB early in the draft. Hightower, I would assume will restructure and free up some more cap room, should still have enough left in the tank to be a contributor this year. Bentley proved last year he is not an every down linebacker. He is basically a 2020 Bryan Cox. Great in a specific role as a run stuffer and able to get to the QB on some schemed up blitzes but he should not be playing anywhere near the snaps he played last year. Jury is still out on Jennings as he didn't do much in limited playing time but should have a bigger role this year. Either way I think this defense took a major step up yesterday.
 

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