Though I realize that it's particularly disturbing to see the Pats lose a key player in back to back years to the hated Denver Peytons, I strongly recommend patience and reason during this trying time of early free agency.
I must grudgingly credit Denver's John Elway, who is proving to be every bit as good as an executive as he was as a QB. Elways fearlessly sees what he wants, and gets it.
In 2012, he had the courage of his convictions, as he laid it all on the line to beat out several other teams to sign Peyton Manning...creaky neck and all. In 2013, he brilliantly targeted and acquired stud OG Louis Vasquez from divisional rival San Diego, slot receiver Wes Welker from his chief AFC rival, the New England Patriots, and hired UFA NT Terrence Knighton from Jacksonville, for what now appears to be a couple of bags of chips.
This year, in response to his team's 43-8 thrashing in the SB, he has actively moved to strengthen his team. He signed an intimidator for his seondary in SS T.J. Ward, from the lowly Cleveland Browns. Next, he boldly nabbed big, physical CB Aqib Talib from the Patriots...thereby killing two birds with one stone in improving his team, while weakening it's chief rival. Far from finished, Elway has now added pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware to compliment Von Miller, and is looking into strengthening his linebacking corp.
To this, Patriots fans are asking the question...why not us? Where is BB, and what is he doing? Folks, BB is doing what he's pretty much always done in free agency...wait til the dust clears after the first few wild spending days of free agency, and then look for residual bargains.
What you have here are two contrasting theories at work. The Broncos are clearly going all in 2014, realizing that this may be Peyton Manning's final season. The Patriots, on the other hand, are looking at the big picture. Years ago, Bob Kraft stated that he wanted the Patriots to be a team that was good enough to compete for a championship every year...much like the Dallas Cowboys of the 70s and 80s. This continues to be the premise on which his franchise is built.
I'm not going to try to kid you. Going into this offseason, the Broncos were a better team than the Patriots. After day one of free agency, that has not changed. If anything, the gap between the teams has widened, due primarily to the Talib deal. That said, we all can agree that the Broncos vastly overpaid for Talib...and that they are taking a huge gamble that his chronic hip problems won't become an issue in 2014.
Though no one, perhaps save my posting buddy Babe Parilli, has been more critical of BB the GM than I, I advise patience. Despite his faults as a GM, BB is still the best coach on the planet...and Tom Brady is still the league's best QB. Let's wait and see how things settle out in the next couple of weeks, before we crown the Broncos the 2014 AFC champs.
I leave you with this...the Philadelphia Eagles thought that they had put together a "dream team" in 2011, after making huge splashes in free agency. How did that turn out for them?
Great, well thought out post.
The problem is not with patience, it is with Kraft/GM BB's philosophy. The Patriots last won a Super Bowl on February 6, 2005. If they don't win one this year, then it will be a decade without a banner. When Kraft was interviewed on 01/31/2014 and stated that he would be happy making the playoffs every year and 'have a shot' at the playoffs, then to go for broke one year and (possibly) be out of the playoffs the next. What Kraft doesn't understand is that the Patriots have been this good since 2001 because 1) Brady is the QB and 2) BB is the coach (not BB the GM). I understand that the immortal Matt Cassell took the team to an 11-5 record in 2008, but that was a FIVE GAME regular season reduction in wins and they missed the playoffs. Brady has a shelf life of (possibly) 3 years - tops. BB? Maybe a few more. Once the Golden Boy has retired to Brazil with his Supermodel wife, the Pats are going to be mediocre at best. Take the last (let's call it 3) years of Brady's career and go for it. SIGN Darelle Revis, SIGN Julius Peppers, SIGN Julian Edelman or Steve Smith, SIGN a TE (Owen Daniels ?), TRADE UP in the draft. If they think that BIG Vince might not make it back, then cut him and SIGN BJ Raji. Go for broke this year and in 2015 and 2016 as well. If the Pats don't win a title, then fine. At least Brady (and the team) will know that they did everything they could to win another ring.
For those who don't think that that they have the Cap space? The Broncos used a little less than 15 MM to sign Talib, Ware and Ward. The Patriots current have 17.5 MM and could easily hit 30 MM with a few restructures.
Please GM BB, if you won't do it for the media or the fans, do it for Brady and Coach BB. I promise, we will stick by you when you tank in 2017 and maybe the next great Pats QB will be there, ready for you (or your successor) the 2018 draft.