Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bargain shopping and other thoughts

After the signings of Fred Taylor and Chris Baker in the wake of the trade that sent Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to Kansas City, the Patriots have approximately $16 million in cap space to play with. Realistically, that's not enough with which to make a big splash given the fact that has to account for free-agents and the draft. If you figure half of that goes to the rookie pool and tying up Vince Wilfork to an extension accounts for about half of that (I wouldn't be surprised if they decide that it's either Richard Seymour or Wilfork and they decide it's Wilfork that's the more important player), that leaves about $8 million for free agents. They'll probably try to keep about $2 million to $2.5 million in space heading into the season to cover unemployed veterans for emergency signings.

That leaves between $5 million to $6 million to bring in free agents, which means bargain hunting. Keep in mind that these are rough numbers ganked from http://www.patscap.com/ and I would say that we're looking at a plus or minus about 2 to 2.5 million.

So, who could the Pats get on the cheap - maybe on one year incentive laden deals?

Well, first you have to ask where are they looking to shore up - I'm guessing that we're looking at a receiver or two, a D-end/Linebacker sort, a veteran O-lineman and maybe a couple of defensive backs. I would rank the needs like this -

1. DB
2. Pass rusher
3. WR
4. OL

As such, here are some of the moves I could see the Pats making (not that they will, but none of these would surprise me) -

If Bill Belichick believes he can get them for the minimum plus incentives for games played, I wouldn't be surprised to see either Shawn Springs or Mike Peterson on contracts like that. Peterson, if he can stay healthy, would be a good platoon player to move in and out with Tedy Bruschi. Springs, when healthy, is a highly talented cover corner that can play the league's best receivers one-on-one. Another option to bolster the pass rush, also on an incentive laden contract, is Jason Taylor. I think it's unlikely, and I wouldn't be surprised if he fades into retirement, but I think he would be tempted by what he might see as his best opportunity to go out with a championship. Forget about Lawyer Milloy returning - it's not happening given the fact that the reasons leaked for his release are the same reasons that got him out of New England and Buffalo.

I would also look at maybe Darren Sharper or the likes of Daven Holly and Sean Jones who played under Romeo Crennel on the Browns to come in to bolster the defensive backfield.

With Jabar Gaffney gone to Denver, the Pats' third best receiver over the last couple of seasons has left the building. I would think that the braintrust is going to add here - maybe someone like Devery Henderson or Shaun McDonald. These are guys that have a lot of talent, can be deep threats, but aren't going to get a look if they're trying to get starter's scratch, because neither has shown they're anything more than a third receiver.

I'm not even going to venture a guess at the extra offensive linemen that they will try to bring in, but I'm certain they will given the fact they have every year since Belichick has been coach.

The other end of the rainbow...

At the other end of the spectrum is the Redskins who have fired off one of the dumbest contracts in the history of the NFL. Yup, I'm talking Albert Haynesworth.

Yes, the volatile Haynesworth has been one of the best nosetackles in the game, if not the best, over the last two seasons. In those two seasons he's rocked 91 tackles, 14.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. Of course that was done on consecutive one year contracts (45 tackles per season, 7.25 sacks, and 1.5 forced fumbles).

When Haynesworth was on a longterm contract his first five seasons he averaged 36 tackles per season, 1.9 sacks, and had a total of 3 forced fumbles. This is not a guy that plays hard when he knows he's set from a financial perspective.

He's also played in 16 games only once in his career and has averaged just under 13 games per season and has averaged 12.3 games per season since his sophomore season.


Teresa said...

I am happy Washington is dumb--that means he is out of the AFC South.

Kevin Smith said...

It amazes me that anyone is giving him that sort of money considering what a dog he has been when he hasn't been in a contract year.