In response to PhatVirgin's comment:
"It started as a murmur. It then became audible chatter. Now it is a howl.
Those who thought the Patriots should "load up" following a crushing loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game are now demanding it after watching the Seattle Seahawks knocked the Broncos hooves off in the Super Bowl.
Enough with the 5-foot-10 receivers and small cornerbacks and unknown retreads who populate the bottom third of the roster. This growing subsection of observers demand that the Patriots go for it before paint loosens and Tom Brady's window slams shut.
But as those cries wail through the streets of New England and over the airwaves, it's unlikely that they'll be heard in the offices at 1 Patriot Place. Owner Robert Kraft already said as much during a recent radio appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
"We're trying to manage our resources as wisely as we can and be as aggressive as we can, but we're trying to make sure every year we are putting ourselves in a position to win," Kraft said.
And while it's fun to think what the team would look like with Larry Fitzgerald on the outside or Jimmy Graham lining up next to Rob Gronkowski at tight end, spending lavishly on the open market this offseason isn't wise for the long-term success of the franchise.
The Patriots have $118 million committed to their top 51 players and $8.5 million in dead money. If the salary cap is set at $128 million, the highest estimate being floated, the Patriots would have about $5.5 million in free space, given that they can roll over $4.1 million in unused space from last season.
That's not much room to play with. Re-sign someone like cornerback Aqib Talib, wide receiver Julian Edelman or running back LeGarrette Blount, and the coffers are emptied. Now, money can be created by restructuring contracts, releasing guys, or getting creative with how deals are structured, but eventually you have to face reality. Loading up brings talent. It also brings bad deals. More often the latter outweighs the benefits of the former.
The chatter surrounding the team last offseason was similar to what is being said this time around. Brady needed more weapons, particularly a deep threat, and the savior identified by many was Mike Wallace. Alas, the Miami Dolphins won those sweepstakes, and are now on the hook for $17.25 million next season for a guy who caught 73 passes for 930 yards in 2013.
For the sake of reference, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers carries a cap figure of $17.9 million next year. Lucky for the Dolphins, they aren't carrying many other heavy contracts, so they'll have room to improve their roster, but these deals often don't look as good once the sun comes up.
There's a reason that it's become a cliché to say that good teams are built through the draft, and bad teams look forward to free agency. It's true. More often than not, these free agents don't survive more than a few years with their new teams.
Remember the so-called "Dream Team" the Philadelphia Eagles assembled in 2011? Defensive end Jason Babin, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha were the jewels of that free-agent class. All three have since been cut.
But the Eagles weren't the only team that struggled in free agency that offseason. Nineteen players signed deals with a new team spanning four or more years in 2011. Ten of them have already been released.
What Philadelphia learned was that collecting talent isn't the same as building a team. Not only did some of their new additions struggle to blend in, their presence ruffled those who were already on the roster. Chemistry never developed and the experiment failed.
That lesson registered with Kraft, who pointed to the 2012 Baltimore Ravens as an example. Baltimore was able to blend their new pieces in and win the Super Bowl, but they had to start cutting pieces free and went 8-8 and missed the playoffs in 2013.
That isn't the way he wants to do things.
"There's so many things that happen," he said. "I don't ever believe in selling your soul for a bowl of (porridge)."
What Kraft and the Patriots may be interested in is adding a missing piece here or there through free agency, which is what the Seahawks were able to do last offseason. It should, however, be pointed out that Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson had a base salary of $526,217 last season. Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanwanui was at $630,000. Having a quarterback that cheap makes it easier to take a few risks, though Seattle's spending can hardly be considered reckless.
They signed defensive ends Cliff Avril (two years, $13 million) and Michael Bennett (one year, $4.8 million) to reasonable deals, though trading for wide receiver Percy Harvin and signing him to a lucrative extension was a bit of a gamble. But the key to those moves was Wilson, which makes Seattle's situation completely unlike New England's.
But either way, loading up and revamping the offense by signing anyone with a decent set of stats is unlikely to happen in New England. The Patriots already began this task last offseason and will likely look to stay the course. Another tight end is likely needed, and a veteran wide receiver may help, but those looking for a shopping spree are sure to be disappointed.
"I think a better strategy is to try to be solid and be able to compete year in and year out," Kraft said.
It won't appease the fans, but that's the more prudent approach."
noone really thought the Patriots would/could load up....
Kraft is a pretty smart guy. I wonder if babe, murtl, t-cal and that guy pezz also think Kraft is as dumb as Bill Belichick for sharing his exact team building philosophy?