Welcome everyone to today's chat! Mike is running a little behind, but he'll be logged in and ready to go at 12:05
Good afternoon. I am here. Crazy day.
Going to just settle in here at our ESPNBoston offices in Stoneham, Mass., and get started. Chat kickoff scheduled for 12:05 p.m. ET.
Today's lead-in question: After agreeing to terms with DL Jonathan Fanene, what move would you like to see next from the Patriots?
Mike, We MUST sign Lloyd! He is the best value in free agency. (Not to mention he wants to come here). He will have 3-4 monster years here, when he was traded to the Rams he literally was their only target. Despite being doubled almost every down, he still had great production (11 games, 55 catches 5 TD). With our weapons he will be unstopable, not to mention the best hands in the NFL! Thoughts?
Lloyd would be great at $3-5m per year. More than that, I'm not sure. But agree that is an area they could use some help.
Mike, I know Danny Amendola might be in Boston for family reasons, but it made me wonder. With the market skyrocketing on the Pats--and the result being a bigger than expected contract for WW--are the Pats able to trade an exclusive tagged player like WW if they were to sign someone like DA? Would this be something you could see them doing if it is allowed?
A player can't be traded unless he has a signed contract. Welker does not have a signed contract at this time, so he couldn't be traded until he signed his franchise tender.
Hi Mike, After looking at what we can get in the draft I think a player like Whitney Mercilus would be a great fit for our defense. He has good size and is just pure athlete coming off the edge, which is something our roster is lacking at that position and has been for quite some time. I think he's gonna be a player that makes an immediate impact for any team he gets drafted to. Do you see the Patiots finally taking an edge rusher who is sitting there in the 1st round? Also, do you think he will still be available when we pick at number 27? Thanks Again, Greg
Greg, Mercilus caught my eye at the combine. Very polished. I think he could be there at 27. As for the Patriots' possibly selecting him, it's all guesswork. I could see it.
Mike,I think Pat's fans are getting tired of the same old over free agent signings and want to see the team make a major investment in the future. Any chance of a big signing still ? If so, who do you think it could/should be ?
Dominick, the biggest signings I could see are Lloyd/Landry. And if I could have an audience with those Patriots fans who are "tired" of the "same old free agent signings", I'd tell them that the team is one of the best positions in the NFL. They are a good team and using free agency to build depth and add complementary pieces. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Hello Mike, I think the Patriots next move should be signing Aaron Hernandez to an extension. The guy has game. His performance in the Denver playoff game, including that punishing hit after the Brady interception, comes to mind. If they lock him up now, then Gronk could be franchised in 2014, ensuring that Brady has his TEs for at least three more seasons.
Dan, I could see it on the radar, but maybe closer to the summer/season.
Mike is it simply New England bias that I think Hoyer is good enough to start on many NFL teams? I mean, I am really surprised that nobody is talking about him as an option for some of the struggling teams. Are you surprised no teams have shown early interest in attaining him, or do you think that will heat up when we get closer to the draft?
Hoogie, I am not surprised that teams haven't shown an interest at this point because of the cost (second-round pick) and his lack of extended action. He hasn't played long enough to establish a level of value that would lead a team to pursue him in this circumstance.
Seems like BB and Pats always seems to do the opposite when a glaring defiency needs to be addressed. Last year it was clear out pass rush absolutely sucked. With the draft last year - he opted not to address it. This year, we have a number of holes - WR, Saftey and possibly cornerback. The free-agent season begins and Pats opt to do nothing except sign more depth at positions we're competent at. If the plan is stick with our existing WR core, then we'll achieve nothing more than we did last year if we are lucky.
I look at it a little differently, ash. I think it's important to look at the moves in their totality, not through a limited lens. For example, when it comes to not addressing the pass rush last year in the draft. that's true. But I'd just say he addressed it in a different way (Mark Anderson, Andre Carter). The idea is to use all the resources available to you (draft, free agency, trades) and build the most complete team. I don't think there is any one right answer. While the Patriots make their mistakes (Haynesworth, Ocho), I think the team's won-loss record is such that it's hard for me to find too much fault with their approach.
Mike, my personal opinion is that safety position is the most vulnerable place in our team. Pat Chung showed that he can bring that much needed energy . It's obvious that we need some other quality safety to play along him. Not McCourty, not Slater. What will Pats do in that area? Are they going to sign someone from the free agent market or draft a player or maybe both?
Great point. They're going after the safety position now, with Steve Gregory (Chargers) visiting and LaRon Landry (Redskins) reportedly expected to visit as well. I expect a free-agent signing and a draft pick. As expected, this was identified as a major need area by Belichick.
Any chance the Pats might extend Vollmer this offseason? Seems to me that we might be able to get 50-75 cents on the dollar after last year's injuries.
I don't see it, John, unless he proves he has a clean bill of health over a more extended period of time.
How is it possible the redskins are buying so much talent when they are having cap money taken away?
I'm not familiar with their specifics, but from a general standpoint, I'd compare it to a credit card. We can all buy a lot with that plastic, but eventually there comes a time when we have to pay up. I know some don't believe that the salary cap is a big factor (thinking of a certain radio host in Boston who looks sharp in a sweater vest and plays a big role in setting the sports-talker agenda in town) in building a team, but it does have an impact on teams at some point. That's how I would classify this thought -- it will catch up to the Redskins eventually, either in the form of cutting players when they don't want to or restructuring contracts and losing business leverage when doing so.
The Patriots seem to have noticed they have needs on the the d-line and at safety by how they signed Fanene, brought in Steve Gregory for a visit, and have shown interest in LaRon Landry. With that said, what remaining free agent do you think would help the Pats the most?
I'd vote for Brandon Lloyd. Think he would be a great addition for the offense. If they could get him, then add a TE (Daniel Fells?) and a safety (Gregory and/or Landry), I think that looks solid.
Hi Mike, do you see any defensive backs in the free agency that might be an upgrade in relation to what the Patriots already have? Also, considering Dallas' acquisitions and some other teams getting CB's, who is, in your mind, the top end CB most likely to drop to the 27th pick in the draft (Out of Jenkins, KirkPatrick and Gilmore)? Cheers for a Portuguese Pats fan and keep up the excellent work.
Greetings in Portugal. Very neat. I think Gilmore is their type of guy, but Jenkins the more likely player to slip based on some of the off-field questions.
Mike,I think there is limited interest in signing back up QBs to be starters after Matt Cassel and Kevin Kolb. I think that's why we aren't hearing much about Flynn right now. Looks like teams that actually have a legit starter as a back up are best to part ways with the aging veteran like Bledsoe and Favre.
Makes sense, Dan. If teams can do it, the best approach is to draft and develop that position.
Mike, I think its a travesty that we are potentially letting Green-Ellis test the free agent waters. He is the most sure handed back in league history and really doesnt have the amount of wear and tear you see out of a running back at his age so he is still arguably in his prime. Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead showed flashes of being good, but they cough up the ball way too often to be feature backs. What gives?
Shawn, like most all of these situations, money is a big part of it. The Patriots offered one thing. Green-Ellis thinks he's worth more. They are apart in their thinking, so Green-Ellis goes out to the market to see if he's worth what he thinks and keeps an open dialgue with the Patriots along the way.
Mike, how about Gaffney? Seems like he's going to get cut by the Redskins.
Arjuna, Gaffney would be a great addition to the Patriots, but from a team-building perspective, I think they could benefit from drafting and developing at least one player at that spot.
Mike, listening to a lot of the Pats community it seems like there is a "the sky is falling" mentality. Feels like this happens every year and then the Pats are right back at the head of the pack in the playoffs... wouldn't you rather see the team building depth at a good cost in free agency than over paying like so many teams are doing? (Laurent Robinson's contract comes to mind as being absolutely insane)
Appreciate that perspective, Riley. I think people like myself in the media are partly to blame. We build up expectations and sometimes don't look at the big picture like that. I think the Patriots' track record speaks for itself. They don't always make the right decisions, but which team does? It's fun to critque it and follow along, but at the end of the day, not losing sight of that perspective is a good thing in my opinion.
Mike,What are the chances that Branch is back with the Pats next season? I thought he was a solid contributer, particularly with the limited throws he saw. Combine that with a solid relationship with Brady, they should not be moving him. Lloyd has too many parallels with Galloway.
I like those chances, Matt. Best case scenario, in my opinion, is that Branch is back on a one-year deal between $1-2 million with incentives that can raise the value -- and you slot him in to the No. 3-4 type of role that Ocho had this year.
To answer your lead-in question, lloyd is commanding too much money due to the recent contract signings of wide recievers so the next move should be landry or gregory at safety, lets face it thats the bigest need for the pats right now. a question for you; you seem to know everything about the patriots and the ideas you have often come to life (fanene), any chance you end up consulting for the patriots?
Thanks TJ, and you flatter me. I don't think the Patriots are interested in my consultation when it comes to players. They have a certain Hall of Fame coach who has built a pretty impressive organization there. It's just fun, from this media seat, to project some of the possibilities and apply what we've seen from BB-coached teams and his philosophy with potential fits in the market.
One of my best friends is a die hard Bengals fan (they do indeed exsist). He said that Fananee turned down more money from Cincy to come to New England. Can you confirm this?He also added that while he's only been a role player, he's been one of their best "playmakers". Could he be another Ninkovich?
Clark, I don't believe that's the case. I think the Bengals were offering less money. As for Fanene, this is how one NFL personnel man described him to me: "Like him. Good role player."
Who is Jonathan Fanene?Mike, I am 15 yr season ticket holder and and extremely frustrated and I am seriously considering giving up my tickets. I am tired of paying top dollar for the tickets only for the Pats to go shopping for free agents at Wal-Mart. The Pats need Mario Williams, he is what the defense has been lacking. The have the money and the cap space to bring him here and they are going to let him sign in Buffalo. He will make the secondary a lot better by increasing the pass rush, he will make Vince Wilfork a lot better. I know that is not going to happen. It is frustrating to see the Pats spend so much time on special team personnel (signing 3 special team players the first couple of days of free agency) and so little time on defensive personnel. The defense needs to big improvement, they were 1 defense stop away from winning the Super Bowl and they just didn't have the talent to stop the Giants. If Julian Edelman plays one down on defense this season, the Pats have failed this off-season. You don't see the Steelers or the Ravens playing their 4th WR on defense. If the Pats didn't draft so poorly when it comes to selecting defensive players I would not be so annoyed. Bill Belichick is a great coach, but not a very good personnel guy. I can't watch another season of the "Bend but Don't Break Defense" only to watch it breakdown in the playoffs.
Steve, I feel the frustration. Let me start with Fanene: He is an eight-year veteran who has played his entire career with the Bengals. He has some good pass-rush skills, was affordable on the cap, and figures to be part of a D-line rotation as Bill Belichick works to rebuild the defensive front line. The signing was viewed as a good one with the few league people I spoke with. ...
... As for your thoughts about giving up tickets, I would never tell you what to do. But I'll just share my opinion on the Patriots and how they do business. This is one of the smartest teams in the NFL and what we have now is unique and won't be around forever. The bar is raised extremely high, but there is going to be a time in our lifetime when getting to the playoffs will be a victory in and of itself, and we'll look back and say "Remember we used to get upset about losing in the Super Bowl. Heck, I'd just like to get back to the Super Bowl." ...
By no means am I saying the Patriots always do the right thing. They deserve criticism at times. They are not perfect. But this is a solid organization that is viewed as a gold standard among many in the NFL.
One last thought: The Bills haven't been in the playoffs since 1999. Growing up, I always viewed them as the team that couldn't win the Super Bowl (4 straight appearances, 4 straight losses). People growing up now probably just view them as a doormat franchise. That's how quick it can change. I say appreciate the moment.
Just saw the Bills signed Mario Williams. Even though I'm not a Bills fan Shouldn't I and everybody be happy Buff was able to get someone of that calibar? Isn't it good for the NFL?
You guys are breaking the news to me. Thanks. I love this move for Buffalo in the sense of it giving their fans something to rally around. Not to be overly dramatic, but that city has had some hard times in recent years and the Bills are such a big part of what goes on there. I agree, AJ, this is great for the NFL. ...
... All that said, I don't think it's enough to overtake the Patriots in the AFC East.
Mike, you said Hoyer doesn't have the track record to generate trade interest, but neither did Charlie Whitehurst when the was traded by SD to Seattle, for a third rounder and a swap of 20 spots in round 2. Something like that would seem to be a fair deal for Hoyer?
Muz, good thought on Whitehurst. All it takes is one team to have interest. I'd file that into the "rare" category. We don't see that often with players like that. I think the Chargers themselves were surprised when the Seahawks called and inquired about acquiring Whitehurst.
Mike - interested in your view on Jim Leonhard. While he is an injury risk, he was solid player and the general of the Jets defense. Could be a good pick up for a reasonable cost.
Jim, he's a smart guy. The reason I'd lean toward Steve Gregory is speed. I think Gregory runs better and would be more of a factor on special teams (adding to his value).
First off I really like the move of getting fanene. He adds a big body inside to plug up running lanes and getting after the quarterback, as to what they do next I see them signing laron Landry maybe around 4 years 23 million he adds a good playmaker to the pats d that in my opinion is a playmaker in the secondary and a pass rusher away from top 10 status. I also feel the pats make a move after Brandon Lloyd to stretch opposing defenses out, maybe a 3 year 21 million dollar deal for him. Thoughts?
Dave, I like Landry on a shorter-term deal. Gives him something to play for. 1 year would be preferred. As for Lloyd, I think that's rich (more than Wayne). I would have rather had Wayne at those numbers.
Does the fact that the Pats have not shown public interest in any of the free agent wide-outs bolster the idea that Mike Wallace is on the radar?
I just don't see the Wallace pursuit. The combination of compensation (1st round pick), salary (these WR deals are blowing the marketplace up), Wes Welker (tough to go after Wallace with Welker's status uncertain) and unknown of how he'll fit in the offense makes it a non-starter to me. I could be way off on that, but I do feel strongly about it.
Good afternoon, Mike. For the lead-in question, I see the next move being Mark Anderson being offered a reasonable pay increase. He earned it last season. But if the market price gets too high, Belichick may have to hope that Markell Carter is ready to take the next step.
Good one, Andrew. The fact we haven't heard Anderson's name over the last few days is probably good news for the Patriots.
Re: Lead-in...I'd like to see some moves that would at the very least offer some O-line support in the event that Light and/or Waters retire or the plans at Center don't work out as BB plans. I'd even lump in a backup TE in this group, since I'm sure they're looking for a block-first TE...but one who COULD catch a pass if thrown to him
Are BB and Kraft in danger of creating another poisonous locker room like they had in 2009 when Wilfork was disgruntled that he didn't get a big contract? I can't imagine that young players like Gronk and Hernandez won't be affected by Welker not being rewarded for how hard he works and how productive he is. At this point how can Welker accept anything less than 4 years/$40 million?
Interesting thought, Bill. There is a difference I see between this Welker/2012 situation and the Wilfork/2009 negotiation. The fact Welker will still get $9.5m on the franchise tag is a good pay day. That is different than Wilfork, who was in the sixth year of his six-year rookie deal and had clearly outplayed his deal. I don't see it as a big issue. ...
... As for Welker and four years, $40 million, I could see him accepting less. I think three years, $27 million with $22 in bonuses/guarantees could be justified by Welker as a good deal for him. That still might be too rich for the team's liking, and if that's the case, the sides can go the year to year route. This is business.
Mike, Is it possible / probable the solution at wide receiver is already on the team? Last year Ocho proved he physically still has a lot of talent. With a full off-season, do you think he can succeed? Coach Belichick points to the 2nd year leap (for rookies), does this apply to Ocho (i.e. totally different offense)?Thanks, Boris
Thanks Boris. I don't see it with Ocho. While he might have more of a grasp of the offense in 2012, I think his skills are also not at the level they once were. My expectations are low for him, assuming he's even here.
Solid move with Fanene. As for other moves I would like. I will call them Fanene-esque. I dont think this team needs to go out and sign top tier free agents, but sign solid veterans who will compete and produce. As has been mentioned, the safety from San Diego, or maybe Jim Leonard. For wideout, maybe LLoyd, but rumors of Gaffney being released intrigue me more. Between Branch, Gaffney, Ocho, and a draft pick, they should handle the outside reciever spot. I would like to see them try to add some pass rushers similar to what they did last year, assuming they cant bring Carter and Anderson back. I think signing a veteran CB to compete is also a good idea. Nothing flashy, but someone who has been around and knows what he is doing. I could go on and on, but you get the point, solid moves now and then come draft time, dont get locked into a need.
Mike, You keep taking about drafting a developing a wide receiver. But, they have been miserable failures in this area over the past decade. I think they need to stick with FAs that have a proven track record in the NFL (Moss, Welker, Gafney and even Caldwell minus one drop).
The facts are the facts, Paul, and I can't argue with you. My only counter is that the team hadn't been great at drafting and developing tight ends prior to 2010 and if they adopted the idea of only signing FAs at that position, they would have lost out on Gronk and Hernandez. I think you keep trying.
I am one of the frustrated fans, this "value" approach worked a decade ago but with the changes to the game, salary cap, teams thought process isn't this approach become outdated? I keep hearing the value and versatility but wouldn't it be easier and more efficient to pay 1 player to provide pass rush then sign 5 bottom feeders and hope for situational pass rush? the defense has been an issue since the AFC Champ Game against Indy many moons ago and we keep trying to fix it with 2nd rate people instead of studs. Spare me the TBC, Mark Anderson, sacks stats as i am not impressed. Winning regular season games is great but isn't winning in the playoffs more important? Last time i looked our defense of 2nd rate values, versatile players let us down in the last 2 SBs. And yes i am considering Ellis Hobbs (2007) as 2nd rate.
Jimmy, it does seem like we're talking about some of the same defensive issues we were 3 years ago. I agree with that. I think they've missed some opportunities in the draft to address that side of the ball and it's fair to hold them accountable. To only draft one defensive player last year is questionable. ...
... With that said, my question back to you is this: Would you rather have a situation like the Colts where they are blowing things up and the owner says "It might take us a few years to get back to contender status." It's hard to transition on the fly like the Patriots have. Part of me feels like the Patriots don't get enough credit for being a contender year in and year out.
Per your Lead Question! I like Landry but if he stays healthy... I am wondering if the Pats get Amendola for a 2nd, drop Welker for a 1 or 2 and then make a play on Mike Wallace!
Thanks Mike. That's aggressive.
Fanene! Slater! Koutouvides! What a wild free agency ride it's been, Mike! In all seriousness, as much as I wanted a Williams/Lloyd signing, the price tag is just far too high for these players (a Williams signing in particular would completely handicap the franchise). I think this whole process just emphasizes how important it is to develop players through the draft. The Patriot Way isn't sexy, but it's right.
Thanks Dave. Nice to hear the different perspectives.
5 minute warning!
Hi Mike , I might be one of the few but other than free agents like Fanane that will come affordable and can make a difference we need to use our picks to improve this team its not like they are far off . We have four picks in the first two rounds , go get two young receivers , a safety and a pass rusher then get dept from free agents like Fanane, I think he is better than Pats fans think , might be the best player next to big V one that front this year . thanks , thoughts ?
Nate, I wouldn't overrate Fanene. In the perfect world, the Patriots would have felt good about having Ron Brace, Myron Pryor and Mike Wright fill the type of Fanene role, but a combination of slow development (Brace) and injuries (Pryor/Wright) had the team active in free agency at the position. I think Fanene will help, but they'll need to do more. And I completely agree on the draft. That's where it is at in my opinion.
Do you believe that BB will sign a wide receiver during free agency? We really need help for TB.
I do Genie. Let's see what happens with Brandon Lloyd and we'll go from there.
The next move is to re-sign Mark Anderson
Would be a good one, Nate.
Hi Mike. If you look at the first wave of free agency the teams making the moves are teams in the greatness need of improvement like Washington, Tampa, Seattle, Jacksonville. Are the Patriots waiting for the initial hype to die down before making more moves?
I think that's fair, Damian. There is an element of "playing the market". Understanding financial value is something I believe the Patriots are very good at.
Hi Mike...looks like the Wes deal of 4 years 34 mill with 20 guaranteed is a pipe dream now. This has the potential of not ending well. Wes deserves to be compensated but we know how the Pats have a max value for recievers. This situation has not gone according to plan.
Not all of them do, Ken, but one thing I know for certain is that the Patriots will do what's best for the Patriots and Wes Welker has to do what's best for Wes Welker. It's not always pretty. In the end, looking at it from the team side, I think they'll be OK.
What might the Fanene signing mean for Kyle Love?
Shouldn't have a big impact, Matt. Love more of a first- and second-down player. Run-stuffer type. Fanene a little bit of everything. They need more quality players up there, even after signing Fanene.
Mike - you like in March Madness this year? Who you got?
Let's end on this one. The next college basketball game I watch will actually be my first this year. Have to pull for Kentucky because I am grateful for the great years John Calipari provided me as a student at UMass in in the mid-1990s. Coach Cal generates a lot of passionate discussion, but I can only speak from personal experience. He was very good to me.
Here is what I am going to go now -- going through the chat to post any answers I missed on the lead-in question. Then we chat again next Thursday. Thanks for everyone's participation.
Next move. Sign welker to that 4 year $32m contract.
I think they should go after a receiver and safety.
Hi Mike, Here are some players I think we should target as potential value buys: Marcus Thomas, former DL on McDaniels' Broncos who has the frame to play 5-technique; Jeff Saturday, if we have trouble bringing our own Cs back; Jackie Battle if we lose Green-Ellis; Justin Forsett if we have room for another undersized RB/KR; and Oshiomoghu Atogwe or Melvin Bullitt, who could be low-risk high-reward types due to injuries in 2011.
We still need a pure pass rusher so lets resign anderson and carter assuming we arent going after him. Grab either lloyd or mike wallace since the receivers are all gone. Get laron landry too.
Mike, The next move I'd like to see the Pats make is signing Landry. We need the S help, and he is the best out there (if we can keep him healthy).
Hey Mike, Big follower and also a big fan of Al Dente seeing as I live directly across the street from it--anyways, I would like to see New England go out and sign Steve Gregory rather than Laron Landry even though I heard a comparison of Landry to Rodney Harrison this morning. The other move that I am intrigued by is getting Mike Wallace if they can get the numbers to work. Let's face, we know he can run on grass as Pitt and New England have similar surfaces and we know he has playoff experience and I honestly don't know if a receiver coming out of college will produce as much as he possibly could. I'd really like to see Anderson and Carter back on defense.
Love Al Dente!
Last year I was disappointed in 3 acquisitions: Ocho, Haynesworth, and Ellis. This year, the Pats seem to have gotten back to their good solid offseason of bringing in quality, affordable FAs. Theyb don't need the big splash! Fanane is a good signing and will take Wrighta??s roster spot. I look to see if the Pats can sign Langford next, another big DE/DL that would add depth to a weak line. Also, Ia??d like to see them sign S Gregory and not Landry a?? Ia??m worried that the guy is just too jacked to move fluidly. The Patriots need sideline to sideline speed for safety and Ia??m not sure Landry is that because hea??s built like a truck! Add Gregory, who can help with special teams too, and draft Barron or Harrison Smith to groom. They can look to the draft for interior lineman, WRs, and DB depth.
Hi Mike. Secure Welker and get some more cap space to make a move. Then go for a veteran safety. Do you think next years cap spending rule will affect some of their signing this year
To answer the lead-in question, I'd like to see Pats add a veteran RB who can help the team in goal line situation. I am assuming BJGE is gone. How about Brandon Jacobs ?WR and DL/DT should be addressed in the draft.
We weren't that far away as has been noted here before, a bounce on a fumble and a catch. I like the approach of getting some more depth added, signing many of our key agents but still think the outside receiver and CB position are scary for us. Lets lock up our speedster and get a move on.
I would like to see them sign a receiver.
i would like to see the pats go out and get brandon llyod
I think it's hard to determine what the Patriots should do next because we're not sure of how the draft will unfold. I would like to see them find some help at free safety, though, because the draft is thin there.
Hi Mike - I'm sure folks like me have started sounding like a Greek chorus with this remark, but the next move I'd like to see the Pats make is to lock up Welker to a multi-year deal. It's time now, as the recent C. Johnson and D. Jackson signings signal a boom in WR market value that won't abate before training camp.
i will like the Pats to look at Jim Leonard because he is very versatile safety and he still has a lot left and Pats do not have to break the bank for him. this to me will be a good move
Wow Mike, this early portion of free agency has been like the Wild West. I'm shocked at some of the contracts signed. Two takeaways for me. One, the Pats have to tweak their business model and more aggressively resign players before they hit free agency. I know that will mean more players wanting their contracts redone early, but the alternative is paying outrageous amounts to fend off the undisciplined overpaying teams. Second, you can't quibble with the Pats drafting players in positions where we seem set -- because your whole team it seems is just a year or two away from being pulled away in this feeding frenzy. So if the Pats grab a tight end early I for one will not complain.
Hey Mike, I like the Fanene signing, but don't feel like it should take the focus off of getting more impact players at the pass rush position. That being said, I really feel like the next moves should be at safety and WR. The safety position goes without question, but feel like a deep threat WR, someone that will force teams to not bring their safeties up into the box on a regular basis, is critical to their success this year. People will say that the Pats got to the Super Bowl without a deep threat, but the fact of the matter is that teams will have another full year to adjust to the short pass offense that the Pats ran last year, and if they stand put, they may not have the same success (or fortune) this year. I hope the Lloyd deal comes to fruition as it may just give that over the top presence. As far as the safety position goes, I hear a lot of buzz about LaRon Landry visiting the Pats. I liked him a few years ago, but the injury concerns, along with the fact that physically, he looks like he is transforming into a linebacker, are leading me to be a little hesitant in believing he is what we need next to Chung.
re: lead-in question, I gotta go with safety. I'm fine with Ihedigbo as a backup/special teams guy, but not as a regular defensive player. There's got to be an upgrade there.
Mike - Letting BJGE test the marekt is a terrible decision. I don't know what kind of payout he is looking for, but surely he's worth it. With two young, up-and-coming backs in the mix it's not like NE has to think long-term. BJGE knows the offense and is a sure-thing. Letting Benny go will go down as one of the worst personnel decisions of the BB-era.
Mike, as a follow-up to the Fanene signing, I would like to see the team address the WR position. Specifically, it is time to get Welker into a real deal, before this turns into a rehash of Deion Branch's 2006 holdout. The free agent cupboard is bare at pass rush and weak at safety, so why not give the money to the proven performer who drives the offense? The dollars have to go somewhere.
Mike, the move I would like to see next from the Patriots is signing Welker to 3 year $30M - $25M guaranteed. Then sign A Gonzalez. Really liked him coming out of "The" OSU.
Mike, love your column, I think it's absolutely essential that we sign Lloyd. When he was traded to the Rams, he was literally there only real threat and still put up really nice production (51 catches, 5TD in 11 games) being doubled most of the time. Can you see this guy with all our other weapons on offense? Not to mention he has the best hands in the NFL, he's still only 30 and could have 3-4 monster years here..
Hi Mike, I just wanted to comment that the Patriots have time to work out a deal with Wes Welker. Right now they have a specific cap number for him and are able to utilize the remaining cap space for free agency and the draft. In July and August they should have most of the pieces in place and how much, if any, salary cap space is remaining. This should allow them to make an offer that could front load some money that would hit this upcoming year's salary cap number. It also allows the Patriots to do any moves from now until then with that available cash. Assuming Wes would take it, the Randy Moss 3 year extension is a good starting point with perhaps some more guaranteed money to sweeten the deal. If the cap number explodes over the next few years, the cap hit should not be too much to swallow if something unfortunate happens.
Next move I'd like to see New England make: Stay on the defensive line and make a play for either Luis Castillo or Kendall Langford as a 3-4 DE.
Grab me with a first round pick and I will become the patriot way.
About the lead in the move I would like to see is a contract for Welker to possibly free up a little cap money to help with getting some key cogs ie: safety, stretch receiver
Hey Mike, huge fan of the blog. To answer your lead-in question, I want to lock up Michael Bush to improve the defense. We saw flashes of solidarity late in the season and I think the D could benefit from some time on the sidelines. While this pass-first offense we've enacted can be devastatingly effective at scoring points, it can also just be "average." What I'm getting at is this; the Pats need to keep their defense off the field, and incompletions stop the game clock. Ridley and Vareen are pretty crafty but Bush will be the time of possession back the defense so clearly needs.
Mike i was a season ticket holder and gave my tickets up after the 1982 strike year. What i had seen by that time! The strike and Ken Sims did me in. I don't get what people could possibly be complaining about right now!
You are right about us having such high standards. After watching the colts turn from being a contender, into whatever you would call that freak show over there now, it really puts it in perspective as a New Englander to how good we really have it. You hit the nail right on the head with that one.
Mike, thank you as always for the chats--definitely something to look forward to each week. I'm largely fine with the more deliberate approach that the Pats take in free agency each year, but I do want to defend some of the more impatient fans a little bit. You're absolutely right that they are one of the smartest teams in the NFL, and it is obvious that they are this century's gold standard in terms of success, with Pittsburgh a distant second. Over the last two years, they have had great runs, mainly because of their careful team-building. At the same time, they are obviously being held back by glaring deficiencies in a couple of areas. The fact that they fail to address those areas repeatedly is the source of frustration, not the overall approach. it is a lot like watching someone build a fantastic dream house but refusing to fix a hole in the roof--its a great product on the whole, but the glaring deficiencies keep it from being what it should be. I don't think any Pats fan would want to trade places with any other fan in the league, but I think it is perfectly reasonable to call the team out for what appears to be blind spots in some areas. Just my two cents.
Mike, just wanna say to all the Pats fans complaining, I'm a Redskins fan and the last time we were good and won a SB, I was 11. That was 20 years ago. I'd give anything to see the Skins have the success the Pats have had over the last decade plus. Gotta be nice when your biggest problem is losing a SB!
Please tell me they aren't considering Landry. The guy has chronic Achilles issues and refused to have surgery for it. He isn't worth anything near what he expects to make. I'd rather convert Edelman to a full time FS and let Chung play SS. Edelman has speed and instincts to learn the position.
Look at the teams that make FA splashes, i.e. Redskins, look at teams that don't i.e. Patriots... Calm down people.
I prefer the Pats way of doing things over the Bills! Paying 3-4 million for 2 guys that will get you 20 sacks is much more cost effective than paying 16 million for one guy that might get you 14. That is all.
I think I got them all. Thanks to everyone for the thoughts. Great passion in this forum. I'll try to dip back in and answer some questions over the next few days.