Video: How Pats approached free agency
April, 24, 2014
We recently held our annual Patriots Draft Party at Gillette Stadium, where ESPN analysts Mike Reiss, Field Yates, Tedy Bruschi and Trevor Matich answered questions and gave their analysis on the team.
The first clip we’re posting today deals with the Patriots’ aggressive approach to free agency this offseason.
“Sometimes it’s cyclical for the New England Patriots on what they’ll do,” Bruschi said. “I don’t think you can ever predict what they’ll do. As veterans in the locker room I think you always looked at what they did as sort of sending a message to players on the team.
“In terms of [signing Darrelle] Revis, [Brandon] Browner, the moves they’re making, there’s almost a sense of urgency that players might have on the team right now. Not only are they trying to keep up with the Broncos but also saying, ‘You know guys it’s time. We’re making the moves to where defensively, we’ve given you everything we have here, now it’s the responsibility of the players to do something.’”
Matich cited the team’s disciplined approach to free agency in recent years as the reason the bottom of the roster is so productive.
“They have a history of letting guys go to other teams near the end of their productive careers. They go to the other team and spend a couple of years going to Pro Bowls, but then they taper off and the Patriots replace them with somebody younger,” Matich said.
“I think what we see behind the curtain with all these things -- they’re not super active in free agency, they don’t overpay for guys in free agency, they want to re-sign their own guys -- is the fundamental reason they tend to be competitive year in and year out at the highest levels of the NFL.
“And that is when you perform in free agency like this, you maintain cap space to re-sign the guys at the bottom of the roster, you continue the chemistry between those guys at the bottom. Those guys are your depth. Those guys are your special teams. ...
“Opposing coaches watching tape will look at those guys at the bottom of the roster and see that they’re getting beat there every bit as much as they’re getting beat by [Tom] Brady and his best receivers. This allows them to continue to build that foundation and that chemistry.”