First off, GREAT POST, I am thinking similar things!
So this is purely hypothetical, if BB called you up and asked what you would do this offseason what would it be. Can be anything you like to fix the team provided it's realistic. In otherwords you can find a way to fit Jimmy Graham on the team but you can't find a way to trade for Fitz, sign Graham, sign 3 other big name FA's, and draft 4 1st round picks. Just curious to see where everyone stands with the team and how you think we could get over the hump and win the "porridge" as Kraft put it.
Wilfork - I'd try to extend him. He has 1 year left so it's possible to have him take a pay cut, however some team will give him at least $3mil for one year so the pay cut limits how much you might get back from him. Being cut also isn't enough of an incentive to play for the remainder of his bonus either so imo the best solution is take the remaining base salary, spread it out over 3 years, and pay him vet min in base over those 3 years. It's a deal that gets him almost $10mil guaranteed in his pocket this offseason, ensures he's a Pat until retirement, and is just as good as any offer he would get from another team while cutting his cap hit this year in half and reducing it moving forward to a reasonable $4mil per year.
Wilfork will get 3.5 million if cut. Yes some other team will give him like 3m for a year, with maybe 1.5m guaranteed. So really he is probably thinking if he's cut and leaves (uncerimonious and he wants to stay) that he os just guaranteed 5 million. Restructure at like 3 years, 12 million, 9 million guaranteed and have him just count the 3.5m he would if cut against the cap in '14 (all guaranteed) with like 200k per game he plays after week 6 as bonuses that count on the 2015 cap (2m total). Other bonus $ could be for % of snaps played in the playoffs.
This frees up 8 million
Mankins - I'd try for a restructure. Love to keep the guy but his contract is pretty large so a restructure to knock off $3mil of the cap this year might be doable.
Mankins is set to make about 7 million a year for the next 3 years. It doesn't make any sense financially to cut him until before that final year. If Logan knows he is pretty much getting 16-18m over the next 2 years, we'd have to extend him an extra 2 years and make it like a 5 year 26-28 million deal with 16-18 guaranteed. If the first year of the deal is at 3-5 million the team can save the 3m you are wanting to by doing this, but they would also be forced to pay him at age 35-36 where now they can cut him after age 33 without much damage.
McCourty/Ghost - Extend both. With the extension since Wilfork's is front loaded you can afford to back load theirs slightly and combined should save around $2mil in cap space
Connolly - a restructure is in order. I'd want him back because we are thin at G and he is a decent starter if they can't find an upgrade. Can save $1mil
Cut Gregory and A. Wilson right off the gate. Cutting both saves $3mil
Sadly, Arrington and Amendola will have to remain as the cost to replace them added to the cost of cutting them would be too much.
Arrington is set to make 9m million in base salary combined over the next 3 years. I think he knows he will be cut after next season and lose out on that last 6.5m in base. If he were extended 1 year and paid 8m over 4 years right now it would save the team about 2 million.
Amendola can be cut after June 1st for just a 1.2m cap hit it '14, but an awful 3.6m hit in '15. The only way we keep Edelman is if we choose to cut Amendola and Edelman's combined $ in the next 2 years plus the Amendola deal money does not exceed like an average of 6m per season. To me that is a wash and the team doesn't go over budget for a slot guy. Otherwise, just roll with Danny. Collie, Moe, Boyce, they can all be counted on in the slot.
Resign Wendell - maybe not as a starter but as a spot starter. I'm thinking a short term deal with little signing bonus to minimize cost if they do find a good replacement
I do not want to see Wendell back honestly, but without the $ to sign the guy I do want, Alex Mack, I would bolster RG and restructure Connolly and he can backup both spots.
Resign Blount - honestly I don't think there will be a large market for him and should be able to get him around $2.5mil per year (essentially Blount over Gregory)
Agree. Gregory frees up 2 million. Keep Blount for 3 years 7.5 million and his cap hit in '14 can be the same as what we save for dumping Gregory.
Resign Fletcher - letting Spikes go means they will be very thin at LB so Fletcher is a must
For the veteran min, sure. If he wants anything more I would look to spend a bit more, like 2m a year, and get a veteran LB'er like Wesley Woodyard or the recently cut Stephen Nicholas to backup all 3 positions and take some of the run stopping duties Spikes had. Fletch is a cover LB'er and in addition to one of those vets I'd rather spend a 3rd/4th rd pick on a more athletic better upside cover MLB.
Resign Hooman - He's a good #3 TE who should come cheap
Now for FA's (yes I know I didn't resign Talib or Edelman you'll see why)
Sign DRC - not as talented as Talib should come at around the same price and gives you a better shot of playing 16 games a year without bowing out.
No thanks on DRC. Give me Walter Thurmond at 4 million a year over DRC or Talib at 6-7.
Sign Tillman - an aging vet CB who can still give starting caliber performance. Having him in rotation with DRC and Dennard/Ryan would give us one of the better secondaries int he league. Of course these means Dennard or Ryan gets pushed inside and Arrington gets made 5th CB, but this next camp I'd try Arrington out as a SS where his under zone and run stopping ability should be an asset.
Agree on all that, except Thurmond in there over DRC. The Adrian Wilson cuts, Arrington restructure and Thurmond over Talib gives the team the $ for Tillman. Arrington can play only the slot as the 5th CB and be tried out as an emergency safety.
At this point we have saved:
14 million in restructures: 8m (Wilfork), 3m (Mankins), 3m (Arrington/Connolly). 7 million in cuts: 3.3 (Sopoaga), 2m (Gregory) and 1.2 (Adrian Wilson) They get another 500k in savings by cutting the Bequette and T. Wilson busts. 2 million in extensions (McCourty/Ghost). Total = 23 million
It spends (just against 2014 cap): 4m Thurmond, 3m Tillman, 3m veteran LB'er (Woodyard/Nicholas/Dansby as examples) 2m Wendell, 2m Blount, 1m Hooman
8 million left.
Sign Raji - He's not looked like himself the last couple of years and might come on a reasonable contract as a rotational DT between Kelly and Wilfork.
Sign Everson Griffen - not a starter but he is an effective pass rusher. Should be able to add some pass rushing ability on deeper downs at a reasonable cost.
If both Wilfork and Kelly are back, with Jones, Sealver Siliga, Vellano all inside as well and Armstead a possibility PLUS a desire to draft a DT... I don't see Raji as a need unless he comes at the veteran minimum and/or we cut Kelly and Vince is going to be on the 6 week PUP.
I like Griffen, but I would sign Arthur Jones instead of these two guys. he can play inside in a 4-3 (where Raji would be) and outside in a 3-4 (where Griffen is too small) and can even play the other end opposite his brother in a 4-3 where Chandler does the Willie Mac Elephant position stuff (hand in the ground some plays, standing up OLB on others). Jones should be given 4/18 at the minimum and like 5/30 at the max and cost like 5m on the cap this year.
The team now has 3 million left from the savings they created with cuts/extensions/restructures and their original 4 million in cap space. 5 million needs to be saved for draft picks. So with that last 2 million I would bring in Bernard Pollard. He'd probably cost 5 million over 2 years and could be slipped in for that amount of space.
Sign either Sanders or Maclin - Between these two and Edelman they should get about the same contract give or take. Sanders is the less risky option health wise between the 3, Edelman has the best connection with Brady, and Maclin is the highest talent between the 3 of team. With Amendola staying on the team I'd lean towards the less health risk and go Sanders but I wouldn't be opposed to Maclin either. His present more nagging stuff but he hasn't missed a lot of time either. Either way both can at minimum do what Edelman did without the injury risk he presents at essentially the same cost.
Once the team gets the 3.5 million Hernandez $ back they might be able to afford one of these guys but I say they pass. They have one of Edelman/Amendola here, plus Dobson and Boyce will be much better. I say they draft a big WR and a TE.
Use that 3.5 million in space to sign Incognito and Matt Cassell. Carry over just the amount of space needed for ONE veteran minimium contract instead of the usual 3-4 million in space.
All in all these FA additions with the cap saving measures listed above should work and leave enough left over to sign draft picks and have $2-4mil to carry over into the season which is plenty
Before the draft I would like to see them trade Mallett and Thompkins to the Texans for 3rd and 5th rd picks.
1st - Amaro TE - Him and Gronk would be an ideal 1-2 combo and be unstoppable when both are on the field. When Gronk isn't there Amaro is still a more then capable #1 TE that should greatly enhance the RZ production
He would be very tempting in the first rd, but I think the Pats actually trade up this year. Surprise everyone and move up from 30 to around 20. The cost? Their 2015 1st rd pick and the 6th rd pick of the Eagles.
At pick 17-21 or whatever we acquire the Pats get a big WR like Evans or Benjamin. If both are gone I would hope TE Eric Ebron is there and the Pats could scoop him up or even a DT like Jernigan, Nix or could be here. One of the 'Bama guys like Clinton-Dix or Mosley or the Pats could reach a bit on a speedy 6' WR like Marquise Hill or Odell Beckham (or speedy TE like Amaro, who could go to KC and be gone by the time we pick). Hageman would probably be around here (but prob gone by the early 2nd as you hope for). Same with the Louisville safety Pryor. I think those 3 positions WR-DT-TE-S will be addressed so any ELITE player at one of those spots should be moved up for this time around.
2nd (trade 2nd this year and next to move up to early 2nd) - Hageman DT - Hageman looks to fall the early 2nd round because of lack of consistency and production at the SB but he is a boom or bust pick. He has Watt type of upside if he could put it together but could also fail. I know it's a risky move but the potential to get a top 15 talent in the early 2nd is worth the trade up and risk
2nd - Another guy from one of the 4 positions that was not picked yet. I like DE/DT Dominique Easley (1st rd talent who would go on the 6 week PUP) and DE/OLB's Dee Ford and Kyle Van Noy as edge rush threats. This would be a good spot to get a safety like Craig Loston or Dion Bailey and an ILB like Skov. A WR like Davante Adams, Jarvis Landry or Jordan Matthews. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins might slip to here.
3rd (from Texans) - any of the above players who slip. TE's Niklas and Fieder (Iowa kid), ILB's Yawin Smallwood or Christian Jones. Exum who you like. DE/DT Ed Stinson. WR Jared Abbrederis and Hoffman who you like.
3rd (our own) - trade back up into the high 3rd with our 6th rd pick to continue to get after talented players at those 4 positions of need.
4th - Address the O-line here (Steen) or another DE/OLB pass rusher to throw into the mix
3rd Exum SS - Exum was injured this past season but has the coverage ability of a CB, the speed and smarts of a FS, and the size and hitting ability of a SS. If not for the injures he'd be a fringe 1st rounder grade. Might take a year to develop but he'd be a great SS moving into the future with
Mid 4th (trade next years 4th and a 6th this year to move into the mid/late 4th) - Hoffman WR - Hoffman is as talented as Robinson (a fringe 1st round talent) but because of a suspension and hamstring injury he gets knocked down to early day 3. At 6'4" 215 he has a big body and knows how to use it to great affect. I see him as a young Boldin with even better height. With Harrison and Moe still question marks it's hard to turn down a talent like Hoffmans in the 4th.
4th - Larsen C - Larsen grades out as one of the better C's in college with an amazing 97% correct assignment number. Very smart and always in the right position he could be a big pickup to anchor the inside of the line
5th - trade remaining 6th and 7th to move into 5th - Aaron Lynch DE - His freshman year at ND made it look like he was destined for a 1st round pick but then he got homesick took a red shirt year and had an average year in South Florida. Should have stayed in school for another year as he started to come on at South Florida towards the end of the year but came out instead. If he gets his head straight he's a 1st/2nd round pass rushing talent. Worth the risk in the 5th
6th comp - Salis Redd RB - quick scat back with some size with knee issues. Back of the 6th you are willing to roll the dice on injury players and Redd was very productive at USC. Backing up Vereen seems like a good task for him to limit wear on those knees
6th comp - Chris Watt G - MB would love this pick and as always later round G's always end up being taken lower then there grade just because of shear numbers. Watt has the potential to fall this far and would make for a good eventual LG
7th comp - Caleb Lavey LB - a coverage LB sleeper who could slip in the draft. Think of him similar to Fletcher