1. I agree on the center. Wendell was garbage today.
2. How many chances does Talib get? He has ended his last four seasons injured. The good news is that he injury history will probably keep other teams away (again). If some one does bite and he gets priced out of what the Patriots are willing to pay it will be rough. Dennard as your number one guy is not a good defensive backfield.
One more chance for Talib if it is like 4 million in salary, just 2 million guaranteed with a 500k bonus for every game he plays past 10, the ability to be cut before week 8 if he goes on IR (with his remaining 1m salary coming back to us), additional 500k bonus for good conduct/pro-bowl appearance, and like a team option for 2-3 years of the same situation (maybe with a slightly higher base) at the end of the year and a player option for like 1 year 3 million, only a 500k roster bonus guaranteed if he plays in 10 games.
After that I agree the team should add one more solid, no injury history CB to the remaining group (so no Ras-I's or Cole's). But I think Dennard and Ryan can be a solid duo, with Arrington only good as a slot nickel, as long as the team has a healthy Mayo, Harmon, Hightower and Collins all improve on the flashes they showed this year and the club gets a much better safety than Gregory into the starter discussion.
3. TE anything for depth would be good at this point. After Gronk the next best TE was Hooman and he had 12 catches (remember in the preseason when a combination of Sudfeld, Ballard, Fells, and Ford were going to stop us from even missing Hernandez and Gronk to start the year).
The team must draft one of the next 2-3 best TE's (if Ebron and Amaro are simply out of reach in rd 1) and likely add a FA upgrade like Pitta or Chandler to Hooman as well. Start the season with those 3 and if Gronk comes back healthy you can decide who to cut between Hooman, the veteran FA TE and Develin.
4. Every guy you name (including Edelman and a 34 year old Boldin) are #2 guys on good teams. Despite Boldin's numbers this year, the 49ers struggled until Crabtree came back. Can they pay Edelman what they paid Amendola last year? No NFL player is going to take a back-end loaded contract. You get hurt and you get cut and you never see that money.
If you have Brady and Gronk and have wisely spent your money on the O-line and important defensive guys you can live with having three #2-3 WR's (Boldin or Sanders/Tate/Edelman, Amendola and hopefully a better Dobson) and two more solid guys like Boyce/Thompkins and Collie/Moe at the backend. Team won SB's with your Branch, Brown, Givens, Patten crowd b/c of Brady, BB and the nasty D.
I think Edelman can have some of his bonus cash spread out in years 2 and 3 of a deal that makes him uncuttable (like Amendola this year) and can therfore be afforded with Amendola for just the first year, but with Danny, Collie and Moe the team should look for either a big or an outside WR in my opinion.
5. They need more than that on the D-line as well. Will Wilfork be the same guy he was at 33 coming off achilles surgery? The owe Sopoaga $6M over the next two years and he was inactive for both playoff games.
Sopoaga can be cut for nothing. Vince will restructure and they say he plans to come back, he will not be the same, but 75% of Vince playing only 50% of the snaps is still a great thing to have. If you spend on Mack or an interior O-lineman, a WR and keep Talib there is not going to be money to add a starting DT, a guy like Raji looking to make a comeback maybe. Yet Kelly will be back, his injury was more strain/partial tear seeming and easy to recover from in 9-10 months. We had 3 young guys show great improvement, did ok against the run in Denver and Armstead is still a wild card. I think DT is not a MAJOR need myself, was more dissapointed Chandler Jones and Nink to be honest.
6. RB is not a problem. Ridley stays the number one back, Vereen is your pass catching guy, Bolden, Blount, some random veteran they find at cheap $$, and maybe a rookie fill out the roster.
7. Safety is still a problem on this team. Unlike others I am still not sold on McCourty being the number one guy back there (he needs to be paired with some one better than him). Gregory has been a below average player and none of the draft picks have worked out.
Agree on Gregory. McCourty is a borderline all-pro as a strong safety. He does need more of a thumper and turnover creator next to him, someone of equal talent, but he is a very good free safety.
8. Collins, Mayo, and Hightower are a good trio. Fletcher is a solid back up. If (and this is a huge if) Hightower and Collins can both build on the end of this season, I think LB is the strongest position on the team next year.
I agree as well. I would just like more than one backup and think a guy who can rest Mayo more, since he was playing like every snap for 5 years, and also allow the team to switch into a 3-4 with ease would be very valuable.