Wilfork#75's Way Too Early Mock Off-Season

2020 Patriots Season:
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In the Starting Line-Up
The direction the Patriots take this off-season will obviously be completely dictated by what happens with Brady. I don't believe the dynasty is over yet and I'm not ready to settle for just being competitive. I may just be a spoiled Pats fan, but while Brady can still play my focus is on winning Lombardi trophies and not just settling for Division Titles and playoff appearances. I would do whatever necessary (within reason) to bring Brady back for one more legitimate run at a couple more rings.

To get Brady to return to New England I think he is going to need some assurances that we are going to put the weapons around him to succeed. I don't buy that he won't take some sort of home town discount, he has always been a team player and I think he will take a fair deal so we can put the right people around him.

The issue I see is that with a short window with TB12, adding rookie weapons around Brady isn't going to cut it. We know how difficult it is for WR's to gain Brady's trust, especially young WR's. Rookie TE's almost never have a major impact in year 1 so I don't think we can rely on draft picks to make a significant contribution in 2020. As a draft nerd I never thought I would say this but I think the best option is to look to trade some of our draft capital for veterans at WR and TE. Cap space is going to be an issue, especially bringing Brady back but we will have to make some sacrifices with our own free agents.

Current Cap Space- $29,224,286 (as per Miguel)


QB Tom Brady- 2 years $50mil ($5.75mil signing bonus, signed before March 18)
1st year cap hit $28.875mil (currently $13.5mil)
This is based on Miguel's proposed contact and to me this is a no-brainer. $25mil a year is reasonable for both parties. Brady's cap hit is going to be at least $13.5mil in 2020 regardless of what direction we go so the additional $15.375mil is worth bringing the GOAT back.

S Devin McCourty- 1 year $8mil
DMac wants to go around one more time and we can see from his play in 2019 that he still has something left in the tank. With no clear replacement I think its worth bringing him back on a 1 year deal

ST Matthew Slater- 1 year $2.5mil
Like McCourty above, Slater can still play and is an important leader on this team.

LB Elandon Roberts- 2 years $2.5mil
Year 1 cap hit $1mil
With Collins and Van Noy likely to depart via free agency, retaining Roberts will help with stability, even if he has his limitations

DT Danny Shelton- 2 years $8mil ($2mil signing bonus)
Year 1 cap hit $3.75mil
While he might not be a pro bowl calibre player, Shelton is a solid run stuffer in the middle and an important piece to retain

C James Ferentz- 2 years $2mil
Year 1 cap hit $900,000
With Thuney and possibly Karras both priced out of the Pats range, keeping familiar, veteran depth is important. Ideally we can find an upgrade over Ferentz as a backup but its better to have him than not.

RFA DT Adam Butler- first right of refusal tender- 1 year $2,144,000
Solid player, would like him back at a reasonable price. If someone signs him away on a bigger offer I would wish him the best of luck.

Sign FA

WR Danny Amendola- 1 year $4mil
Gaining Brady's trust is extremely difficult. Amendola brings familiarity and would take the pressure off Edelman as Brady's safety blanket. He had a good year in Detroit in 2019 and has always come up clutch for the Pats

TE Dwayne Allen- 1 year $1.4mil
One of our biggest weaknesses in 2019 was the blocking from our TE's. Allen is an excellent blocker, has experience with the Pats and should be fairly cheap coming off an injury last season. I think he would make an excellent #3 blocking TE.

CB Jason McCourty

TE Matt Lacosse


CB Stephon Gilmore (-$7.5mil in 2020)

LB Dont'a Hightower (-$5.6mil in 2020)


Patriots trade 2020 1st (#23) and S Duron Harmon to Cleveland for WR Odell Beckham Jr and TE David Njoku
Brady could definitely use a legitimate #1 WR and I think Beckham is the best option potentially available. We know BB likes OBJ and has tried to acquire him in the past, and Odell has shown interest in the Patriots. Now might be the perfect time to make a bold move. If BB was willing to trade a 1st round pick for Brandon Cooks, I think he would jump at the chance to get OBJ. One of the big benefits of going after OBJ is he doesn't have any guaranteed money left on his contract. So after acquiring him we can easily re-structure his contract to lower his cap hit for 2020. After re-signing McCourty, Harmon might be a luxury we can't afford at his current cap hit. Moving him to take a shot at a high upside reclamation project like Njoku could pay dividends. TE is a huge need and Njoku has flashed big time potential as a pass catcher, maybe a change of scenery is what he needs.

Why would Cleveland do this? With DePodesta still having a lot of influence in Cleveland, you know analytics are going to play a big part in their team building. Are they going to want to pay big money to two WR? Landry has better chemistry with Mayfield and Beckham has no dead cap hit so it could make sense moving him if they can get value. With a new HC and GM they are going to want to establish a new culture, are they going to be happy with his antics of his antics of the past few months? His value is down slightly from last year so the #23 pick seems fair. This allows them to solidify their trenches in the first round or possibly even trade that pick to Washington for Trent Williams.

Njoku was very unhappy last season and has said he would have demanded a trade if Freddie Kitchens had returned. Is he still disgruntled with the organization? Is he a poor fit in Stefanski's run first offense? I don't think there is any way Cleveland picks up his 5th year option so why not move on now and get some value for him? While he certainly flashed potential he hasn't done much in his 3 years in the league to create a lot of trade value. The Brown's have a massive hole at Safety and Harmon is a veteran starter that could immediately step in and allow Cleveland to use its draft resources in other areas.

Harmon (-$4.25mil)
Beckham $4.25mil (re-structure saves $10mil in 2020)
Njoku $1,763,910

Trading away Harmon covers the 2020 cap hit for OBJ after re-structuring. Njoku would take up less that $1.2mil in cap space after pushing someone else off the roster.

Patriots trade conditional 2021 3rd to Tampa Bay for TE OJ Howard
Howard is a perfect fit for the Pats as a well rounded TE that can block and catch the ball. It's really tough to gauge his value because he is extremely talented but his production through his first 3 years doesn't warrant a high pick as compensation. Like Njoku, I don't see TB picking up his 5th year option and they don't utilize him very well anyway. I think a conditional pick for 2021 makes a lot of sense for both sides. If Howard is active for at least 12 games the Pats give up a 3rd round pick. If he makes the Pro Bowl or All Pro it bumps up to a 2nd round pick. If he is active for less than 12 games it drops to a 4th round pick.

Having a well rounded TE like Howard, an athletic pass catcher like Njoku and a blocker like Allen would be an enormous upgrade over our 2019 TE's.

Howard $1,977,936

Starting Cap Space $29,224,286
Total Cap Additions $47,060,000
Total Cap Subtractions (-$23,250,000)
Minus Rule of 51 (-$5,343,000)

Total Cap Space $10,757,286

This leaves us with a little over $10mil before the draft to add some veteran pieces and leave some space for mid season moves. Because we wouldn't have a 1st or 2nd round pick we shouldn't need any additional space to sign our draft picks, it may actually save us some money at cut downs. We have a few grievances pending with Hernandez and Antonio Brown which could possibly free up some extra cap space and there are also some other moves or scenarios in which we can free up cap space although unlikely:

Cutting Burkhead (-$3mil)
Cutting Gostkowski (-$3.862mil)
Trading/cutting Sanu (-$6.5mil)
Cannon retires (-$3.783mil)
Andrews retires (-3.4mil)
Develin retires (-$1.25mil)


In the Starting Line-Up
The Draft

Obviously after trading away our 1st and 2nd round picks, the likelihood of drafting well rounded impact players is slim. I would look to draft traits and players that can fill a role. Don't look at what players can't do, look at what they can do well and how we can utilize them.

Current Picks (based on expected compensation picks)


Trade 3(87) + 7(235) to Phi for 3(103) + 4(124) + 5(168)

3c(97). EDGE- Darrell Taylor- Tennessee
Taylor has huge upside as a pass rusher. He has prototypical size for an edge player at almost 6'4” 260lbs with 33inch arms. He is extremely athletic with an excellent first step and elite flexibility and bend around the edge. His combination of speed, strength and length is probably better than any player in this draft not named Chase Young. He might not be great against the run at the moment but as a pass rusher his potential is huge. After he blows up the combine he is probably going to skyrocket. He probably won't start early on and will need time to develop against the run but he should be able to carve out a role as a situational pass rusher in 2020.

3c(99). DT- Davon Hamilton- Ohio State
Hamilton is probably my favorite NT in the draft. Even after an excellent week at the Senior Bowl I think he is very underrated. He is well built, extremely strong and is surprisingly explosive. He has an excellent anchor vs double teams,can collapse the pocket and is very good in pursuit for a guy his size. He might not put a lot in the box score but he will have an impact.

3c(103). OG- Kevin Dotson- Louisiana Lafayette
One area in which I think the Pats need to improve is their physicality up front. Too many times last season we were unable to convert from less than a yard running the ball and I think it was a major contributing factor to our poor red zone efficiency. What I think we miss is that one mauler up front we can run behind when we only need a yard or two. Dotson is an absolute monster in the run game and has the strength to blow anyone off the ball. He may not quite have the lateral agility we traditionally look for from out OG but he is an elite run blocker and has been very impressive in pass protection. With Thuney likely gone, Dotson would add a physicality we need up front. With Brady getting up there in age we need to keep him healthy and one way to do that is to run the ball more consistently.

4(122). MLB- Logan Wilson- Wyoming
The most underrated Lber in the draft, Wilson is a pure football player. He is a very sound tackler, good movement skills, has a natural feel in coverage and has great instincts and understanding of defense. He was a high school CB so even though he might not have elite athleticism he can more than hold his own dropping into coverage. A three year captain, Belichick is going to love his attitude and work ethic. He might not check all the boxes on paper but he certainly does on the field.

4(124). OT- Saahdiq Charles- LSU
Charles is one of my biggest sleepers in this draft. He had some issues at LSU and he needs some technique work, but he has incredible feet and strong hands. If the off the field issues aren't a concern and whoever replaces Dante can polish him up a little but, this guy has Left Tackle written all over him. Worst case I think he could be an excellent, athletic OG.

5(168). WR- Jauan Jennings- Tennessee
I wrote a little about my love for Jennings in the WR thread. He is the most physical WR I have seen in years and he reminds me of Anquan Boldin. He works the middle of the field really well and is excellent after the catch. To put his physicality into perspective, in 2019 he broke 29 tackles on only 57 catches, the most in the country. He was the heart and soul of the Vols, having a cult like following. He is a former QB so he has a good understanding of the game and is also a very good special teams contributor. Just a pure football player.

6(195). DB- Michael Ojemudia- Iowa
Ojemudia was impressive as a CB at the Senior Bowl. Where I see his future and where I love him though is at free safety. Iowa played a lot of cover 4 so he excels in zone coverage, tracks deep passes well and is very good at playing the ball in front of him. He may be the best CB in the draft in run support which should translate very well to safety and he showed at the senior bowl some ability to be physical at the LOS and cover man to man. His best attribute though is his intelligence. He has a great understanding of coverages and played in a very complex scheme at Iowa. He may take some time to develop but I can see him taking over McCourty as our deep CF safety. Until then he should be an excellent special teams player.

6(205). MLB- Markus Bailey- Purdue
If his season wasn't ended prematurely with a serious knee injury I think Bailey would have been a 2nd round pick. When healthy he is an excellent athlete, fantastic tackler, great in coverage. He is smart, instinctive and versatile, having played every LB position in every front for Purdue. Like Logan Wilson earlier, he is a pure football player. If the medicals check out he is going to be a steal and I wouldn't be shocked if 5 years from now he is the best LB from this draft.

6(213). TE- Stephen Sullivan- LSU
This is a pure lottery ticket. Sullivan didn't produce much with the depth at TE at LSU but he really flashed at the senior bowl. He has good size for the position, great athleticism and a huge catch radius thanks to his 7-foot-1 wingspan. There just aren't a ton of human beings on the planet with his size and length that can move the way he does. He has showed some effort as a blocker but where he is going to make his money in the NFL is as a mismatch weapon. He could develop into a Darren Waller type player

6 (215). K- Tyler Bass- Georgia Southern.
We all know the struggles Gostkowski had last season before his injury and his cap hit is significant for a kicker. I think we have to bring in some young competition to make Gost earn the job back. Bass has an absolute cannon for a leg and to me is the clear #1 kicker in the draft. He is very consistent from short/medium range and has no problem booming it well beyond 50 yards. He is also an excellent kickoff man and isn't too shy making a tackle or two. If we bring him in I think he would win the job and save the Pats over $3mil in cap space.

UDFA QB- Jared Gerbino- Dartmouth
The NFL is a copycat league and Gerbino is a Taysom Hill clone. He's never going to be a starting QB in the league or even a primary backup, but he could be a really versatile weapon if given a chance to develop. At worst he is a nice guy to have in camp to give a different look and an interesting practice squad guy and scout team player.
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Pro Bowl Player
Wow OBJ Howard and Njuku.
This would be masterful.
Love how both lines were addressed in the draft well done.

What would your off-season look like if Brady signs elsewhere?


Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Wow, this is quite the undertaking. You’ve done a phenomenal job with this. You should honestly look into working in the NFL (with BGC). Two excellent talent evaluators. Really impressed by this. Would love it to happen.


PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Love it & not saying this in any way but think we'd have to give up more in the trades. Good job tho


PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
6 (215). K- Tyler Bass- Georgia Southern.
We all know the struggles Gostkowski had last season before his injury and his cap hit is significant for a kicker. I think we have to bring in some young competition to make Gost earn the job back. Bass has an absolute cannon for a leg and to me is the clear #1 kicker in the draft. He is very consistent from short/medium range and has no problem booming it well beyond 50 yards. He is also an excellent kickoff man and isn't too shy making a tackle or two. If we bring him in I think he would win the job and save the Pats over $3mil in cap space.

My understanding is he was playing injured all season; the Pats were hoping to simply manage the injury, but then he aggravated it and needed surgery.

In any case, I suspect that if they bring in a kicker, it'll be an UDFA. I also suspect that whoever is the best kicker will probably go in the fourth or fifth round.


Third String But Playing on Special Teams
Great job on your layout with well-defined explanations for all the offseason decisions and each draft pick.

I definitely would love adding WR Jauan Jennings and TE Stephen Sullivan to the roster.


In the Starting Line-Up
I’d take this in a heartbeat. Think we would have to throw more in though for the trades but apart from that wouldn’t be to bad.

I also think if Devlin and Andrews are given the full clean of health they will be back. I think they will rework Sanu deal as well. Until he hurt his ankle he looked solid -( not great but decent enough)