2019 Pats: General Training Camp Thread

RedOctober3829

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The Redskins are having trade discussions regarding tackle Trent Williams, according to a source. Unclear what type of compensation they'd require in a trade. There's a feeling around the league the Patriots would be involved due to depth issues at the position.
--Jeff Howe
 

Harry Hooper

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The Redskins are having trade discussions regarding tackle Trent Williams, according to a source. Unclear what type of compensation they'd require in a trade. There's a feeling around the league the Patriots would be involved due to depth issues at the position.
--Jeff Howe
Williams' deal is less $ than Solder is getting from the Giants, but it's way north of what Mason and Cannon are getting in Foxborough.
 

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The Redskins are having trade discussions regarding tackle Trent Williams, according to a source. Unclear what type of compensation they'd require in a trade. There's a feeling around the league the Patriots would be involved due to depth issues at the position.
--Jeff Howe
Not clear down here how much of this is posturing. Is Williams flat out done with WA because of the medical staff, or is this angling for more $. (I suspect the former). Redskins are adding OL guys — is that posturing for leverage with Trent, or a sign he is gone? Time will tell.

It’s really hard to see how the money would work for NE. Redskins are not going to move signature player AND eat money for anything less than a genuine haul in draft/player comp.
 

BaseballJones

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Not sure about compensation or how the Pats could afford it, but in terms of on-field play, adding Trent Williams at LT would be phenomenal. Dude is a 7-consecutive-year pro-bowler. Yeah I know that doesn't always mean much, but if you're always a pro-bowler, you're pretty damned good.
 

Super Nomario

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Maybe they'll take back salary in a trade. Pats have just about $7.5 million in space currently.
That's a lot of salary to offset, considering the Patriots are going to want to keep some space for stuff that comes up. Can they get Washington to take on like $7 MM in salary (leaving the Pats with $3-something MM)?

Williams' salary for 2019 is $11 MM and he's got $250K in roster bonus. 2020 is $12.5 MM and $250 K roster bonus. That's doable. But not if Williams wants more money. He's 31 and has missed 13 games over the past three seasons. I don't really see this making sense.
 

RedOctober3829

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That's a lot of salary to offset, considering the Patriots are going to want to keep some space for stuff that comes up. Can they get Washington to take on like $7 MM in salary (leaving the Pats with $3-something MM)?

Williams' salary for 2019 is $11 MM and he's got $250K in roster bonus. 2020 is $12.5 MM and $250 K roster bonus. That's doable. But not if Williams wants more money. He's 31 and has missed 13 games over the past three seasons. I don't really see this making sense.
An option is to re-work his deal and give him an extension to lower his cap number for this year.
 

Super Nomario

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An option is to re-work his deal and give him an extension to lower his cap number for this year.
They could convert all but $1MM of his 2019 salary to signing bonus and add another year (making the bonus $10 MM spread out over three years). Take his 2019 hit from ~$12.2 MM to ~$4.5 (but makes his 2020 hit ~$16). But I have the same question @dcmissle does about whether he's posturing with WAS or really wants a new deal. Because if he wants like a top-of-market LT contract, I don't see the Patriots going there.
 

Harry Hooper

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Looks like if Ferentz sticks at C and Andrews is cut, that frees up around $2.5 million. If Washington would take Harmon in a package, that's somewhere over $4 million saved.

Because if he wants like a top-of-market LT contract, I don't see the Patriots going there.
Yes, there were some conflicting reports about the Pats' offer to Solder, but it seems they didn't come close to what the Giants, Broncos, and Texans offered to Nate.
 
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BaseballJones

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Looks like if Ferentz sticks at C and Andrews is cut, that frees up around $2.5 million. If Washington would take Harmon in a package, that's somewhere over $4 million saved.
Are there rumors of Andrews being cut? I thought he has been an absolute rock in the middle of the line, and a huge reason why the Pats' interior OL has been so dominant.
 

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Bedard had this yesterday (in light of Andrews not physically up to taking any reps yet in camp) :

James Ferentz’s strong start is interesting.
One of the things I’ve learned about covering this team, when you’re not there and Bill Belichick gets a long look at life without you, your chances of being jettisoned are increased. I’m not saying Andrews is in danger or anything, but it’s something to keep in mind.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Bedard had this yesterday (in light of Andrews not physically up to taking any reps yet in camp) :
Not directed at you as you're just quoting a source, but the idea of cutting Andrews in favor of a 30 year old with 22 career games and 0 starts is patently ludicrous to me.

Obviously the blind side is a concern if Wynn is not ready and they don't want to move other guys around, but I wouldn't touch a starting OL featuring a true journeyman at C.
 

Super Nomario

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Looks like if Ferentz sticks at C and Andrews is cut, that frees up around $2.5 million. If Washington would take Harmon in a package, that's somewhere over $4 million saved.
Andrew is a really good starting center and a two-time captain. Harmon is another good player, critical depth at a position of need, who was 8th on the team in defensive snaps even with McCourty 100% healthy. He has also has been a captain. That would make the team worse in two spots to make it better at LT (where they used a first-round pick just last year). If they were going to do all that, they should have just re-signed Trent Brown.
 

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Not directed at you as you're just quoting a source, but the idea of cutting Andrews in favor of a 30 year old with 22 career games and 0 starts is patently ludicrous to me.

Obviously the blind side is a concern if Wynn is not ready and they don't want to move other guys around, but I wouldn't touch a starting OL featuring a true journeyman at C.
Agreed. What the hell do BB and the OL coach, whoever he is, know about replacing OL guys without a hitch!
 

Harry Hooper

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Not directed at you as you're just quoting a source, but the idea of cutting Andrews in favor of a 30 year old with 22 career games and 0 starts is patently ludicrous to me.

Obviously the blind side is a concern if Wynn is not ready and they don't want to move other guys around, but I wouldn't touch a starting OL featuring a true journeyman at C.
It's early in camp, so a bit of silly season in terms of speculation. Still, the Pats under BB have gone with C's with zero NFL starts before. Certainly an age difference, but Wendell had a couple of years of very limited duty with the Pats before grabbing the job at center.
 

Super Nomario

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It's early in camp, so a bit of silly season in terms of speculation. Still, the Pats under BB have gone with C's with zero NFL starts before. Certainly an age difference, but Wendell had a couple of years of very limited duty with the Pats before grabbing the job at center.
Wendell had made five starts in 2010 and 2011 before winning the starting job in 2012. Karras (also five starts) is a better parallel to Wendell than Ferentz.

Neither makes any sense as starting C, because Andrews is better, a captain, and is under contract through 2020 very reasonably (< $4 MM) while both Karras and Ferentz are FA after the year.
 

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When the dust settles, I expect Andrews to be the starting center. Given the depth among the DBs in camp, I expect Harmon or Jonathan Jones to not be on the roster.
 

Super Nomario

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When the dust settles, I expect Andrews to be the starting center. Given the depth among the DBs in camp, I expect Harmon or Jonathan Jones to not be on the roster.
There's a ton of CB depth, but not much depth at S. I could see Jones traded just because he's in the last year of his deal, but by eyewitness accounts he's having a great camp.
 

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Why are people convinced that Andrews or Harmon is on some kind of bubble? Sure, BFB makes unexpected cuts most years, but the team is loaded and isn't in any kind of salary cap hell. Is there any reason to see any outcome other than the best 53?
 

McBride11

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Cut Andrews?? Did he get hit by a car in the offseason? He is no Stork that may have cost a SB appearance.
Didn't Thuney - Andrews - Mason grade out as like the best interior OL in the NFL? I presume Karras is depth for OG or C if they get hurt.
 

Harry Hooper

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Why are people convinced that Andrews or Harmon is on some kind of bubble? Sure, BFB makes unexpected cuts most years, but the team is loaded and isn't in any kind of salary cap hell. Is there any reason to see any outcome other than the best 53?
Harmon seemed to be playing a reduced role in the second half of the season and playoffs. If that's true, how much of that was game-plan driven and not his level of play would be the question.

Addendum: Found the snap count numbers for the 3 postseason games at Patspulpit.com:

DMC 70/50/65
Chung 70/52/26
Harmon 32/2/29
Jones 8/41/64

Harmon's SB total would be lower if Chung hadn't been knocked out of the game.


Addendum 2: According to Pro Football Reference, Harmon on average played 67% of defensive snaps in games 1-8, and then 55% of defensive snaps in games 9-16.

Harmon's second-half 55% is boosted a few percentage points by his large number of snaps in Game 16 where DMC was on light duty.
 
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Super Nomario

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Harmon seemed to be playing a reduced role in the second half of the season and playoffs. If that's true, how much of that was game-plan driven and not his level of play would be the question.

Addendum: Found the snap count numbers for the 3 postseason games at Patspulpit.com:

DMC 70/50/65
Chung 70/52/26
Harmon 32/2/29
Jones 8/41/64
Fair enough. I would argue this is probably game-plan driven - KC and LAR have special, high-octane pass offenses but can also run the ball, necessitating more CBs while not sacrificing front seven run D - but I don't know for sure.

Addendum 2: According to Pro Football Reference, Harmon on average played 67% of defensive snaps in games 1-8, and then 55% of defensive snaps in games 9-16.

Harmon's second-half 55% is boosted a few percentage points by his large number of snaps in Game 16 where DMC was on light duty.
The first-half number is boosted by Chung missing a game-and-a-half though.

Harmon's SB total would be lower if Chung hadn't been knocked out of the game.
This highlights the biggest reason why it wouldn't make sense to lose Harmon: He was their only safety depth, and he's still their only safety depth. Melifonwu played all of 20 defensive snaps for the Patriots; Ebner played less safety than Gronk. They did not draft any safeties (they did add Malik Gant as a UDFA, but Gant is very much in a Chung / SS mold), and their "big" free agent safety addition, Terrence Brooks, is more of an Ebner/ST-only guy than a real option at the position. Harmon's reduced playoff workload as described above (63 snaps) nearly matches Brooks' defensive workload for all of 2018 (69 ... nice). Harmon played more snaps on defense in 2018 than Brooks has his entire career, total.

(And yes, I have heard that Brooks is getting run with the ones in camp. This just further highlights the lack of depth at S. Who else is going to play? Chung has been limited / no-contact, and Ebner is hurt. McCourty and Harmon don't need a ton of reps. So it's Brooks, Melifonwu, Gant, and somebody named A.J. Howard)
 

JokersWildJIMED

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Keeping so many designated roster spots for ST-only positions has always been a dubious proposition and has hurt the Patriots in the past, made especially egregious with the new KO rules last year. Keeping Ebner, seems like a keen waste of roster space.
 

Bowhemian

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Keeping so many designated roster spots for ST-only positions has always been a dubious proposition and has hurt the Patriots in the past, made especially egregious with the new KO rules last year. Keeping Ebner, seems like a keen waste of roster space.
Your joking, right? I mean, the Pats have had ST-only roster positions for several years. It seems to have worked out OK for them, no? How exactly has it hurt them?
 

DrewDawg

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Keeping so many designated roster spots for ST-only positions has always been a dubious proposition and has hurt the Patriots in the past, made especially egregious with the new KO rules last year. Keeping Ebner, seems like a keen waste of roster space.
How has it hurt them? You need to show your work.
 

JokersWildJIMED

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The most glaring example would be LII...no one wants to relitigate the Butler situation, but their depth was weak (could be argued that too many spots were taken by ST players) and the backups thrown into the mix (e.g. Richards) were not much more than scrubs.
 

Harry Hooper

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This highlights the biggest reason why it wouldn't make sense to lose Harmon: He was their only safety depth, and he's still their only safety depth. Melifonwu played all of 20 defensive snaps for the Patriots; Ebner played less safety than Gronk. They did not draft any safeties (they did add Malik Gant as a UDFA, but Gant is very much in a Chung / SS mold), and their "big" free agent safety addition, Terrence Brooks, is more of an Ebner/ST-only guy than a real option at the position. Harmon's reduced playoff workload as described above (63 snaps) nearly matches Brooks' defensive workload for all of 2018 (69 ... nice). Harmon played more snaps on defense in 2018 than Brooks has his entire career, total.

(And yes, I have heard that Brooks is getting run with the ones in camp. This just further highlights the lack of depth at S. Who else is going to play? Chung has been limited / no-contact, and Ebner is hurt. McCourty and Harmon don't need a ton of reps. So it's Brooks, Melifonwu, Gant, and somebody named A.J. Howard)

All true, but will they pick up from the end of last year and have Jonathan Jones get more snaps at safety?
 

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The most glaring example would be LII...no one wants to relitigate the Butler situation, but their depth was weak (could be argued that too many spots were taken by ST players) and the backups thrown into the mix (e.g. Richards) were not much more than scrubs.
But it didn't hurt in LIII or LI or IL (or whatever they called 49).

So it might have hurt in 1 out of 4 SB. And, of course, they've gotten to 4 of the past 6 SBs, so as a whole it seems to work. At least to me.
 

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Keeping so many designated roster spots for ST-only positions has always been a dubious proposition and has hurt the Patriots in the past, made especially egregious with the new KO rules last year. Keeping Ebner, seems like a keen waste of roster space.
At this point most NFL teams have a similar number of predominantly ST players. The Pats will pay those guys a little more money (e.g. Slater) and fill the role with players not on rookie contracts, but it's not like the Bills or whoever don't have three-five guys who have no role other than teams.
 

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The thing is when you don't have ST-only guys, like Slater, Ebner, King, et al, you end up with more starters playing ST. Then a guy like Gronk gets hurt on a PAT and everyone goes berserk.

I saw a stat recently (FootballOutsiders, maybe?) that posited that a team's success is 4 parts offense, 3 parts defense and 1 part ST. So roughly 1/8 of your success is pegged to ST. Keeping about 6-7 ST-only guys, including specialists seems like the right balance on a 46-man roster.
 

Super Nomario

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Keeping so many designated roster spots for ST-only positions has always been a dubious proposition and has hurt the Patriots in the past, made especially egregious with the new KO rules last year. Keeping Ebner, seems like a keen waste of roster space.
I'm convinced special teams is like baseball defense was in the Moneyball era: people didn't understand it and there weren't readily-available statistics, so they assumed it didn't matter, and you had people arguing things like, "would Frank Thomas' bat at SS offset his glove?" Fast-forward a few years later, and people start understanding that no, it wasn't unimportant, we just didn't get it.

The Patriots averaged 70 offensive, 65 defensive, and 28 special teams in the regular season in 2018. So ST makes up ~17% of plays in a typical game. That's nothing to sneeze it on its face, but beyond just play count, special teams sees more yardage change hands than a regular play, and bigger disparities between the top and the bottom unit. I would argue a typical special teams play is less important than a third down or red zone offensive or defensive play, but more important than a first-or-second-down O/D play elsewhere on the field.

I think we also forget games that turn on a ST play. The Patriots won the Chicago game last year by 7 points. They had two ST TDs. Two blocked punts kept them in the Miami game despite appalling defense. We've also seen, more rarely, ST disasters lose them games, such as 2015 against the Eagles.

At this point most NFL teams have a similar number of predominantly ST players. The Pats will pay those guys a little more money (e.g. Slater) and fill the role with players not on rookie contracts, but it's not like the Bills or whoever don't have three-five guys who have no role other than teams.
Every team ultimately has to account for a similar number of snaps across their units with a similar number of players. I think it's a question of prioritization. Usually your deeper bench guys are going to play way more ST than O/D. Some teams are fine with having developmental O/D guys who may not be effective ST players. The Patriots reason, logically enough, that if that guy's going to make most of his contributions on STs, he should be a player who is good at STs. There are occasional downsides to this approach, but I'd argue it's been more good than bad by a substantial margin.
 

DrewDawg

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I'll track down the link, but Brady said he added a few pounds this season to better withstand the hits.
 

Shelterdog

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Every team ultimately has to account for a similar number of snaps across their units with a similar number of players. I think it's a question of prioritization. Usually your deeper bench guys are going to play way more ST than O/D. Some teams are fine with having developmental O/D guys who may not be effective ST players. The Patriots reason, logically enough, that if that guy's going to make most of his contributions on STs, he should be a player who is good at STs. There are occasional downsides to this approach, but I'd argue it's been more good than bad by a substantial margin.
I'm with you but the downside is hard to quantify. What you're losing is a chance to develop another player (I think of the Ravens kind of hanging on to an Adalius Thomas or Jarret Johnson for a few years as special teams guys before they really contributed on defense) but then realistically how many marginal roster cuts have the Pats had who you really think would have developed into a strong positional player here with time? There just aren't that many that I can think of -- maybe a Crevon LeBlanc or Grugier Hill?
 

joe dokes

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I'm convinced special teams is like baseball defense was in the Moneyball era: people didn't understand it and there weren't readily-available statistics, so they assumed it didn't matter, and you had people arguing things like, "would Frank Thomas' bat at SS offset his glove?" Fast-forward a few years later, and people start understanding that no, it wasn't unimportant, we just didn't get it.
I like the analogy. (Although I think in Beane's case, the original impetus for his moneyball approach was that they couldn't afford more than 2.5 of the 5 tools in any one player).

To me, the biggest specific change on ST (beyond recognizing its importance) is the evolution of the long-snapper into a specialist who does nothing else and is not even notionally a backup o-lineman or tight end as was the case until the 90s or so.
 

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The Jakobi Meyers hype train continues to run unabated. He ran with the ones for the first time today and apparently looked good.

Meyers is one of the guys I'm most looking forward to seeing in action during pre-season. I don't know a damn thing about this kid but he seems to have made quite the impression thus far.
 

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(And yes, I have heard that Brooks is getting run with the ones in camp. This just further highlights the lack of depth at S. Who else is going to play? Chung has been limited / no-contact, and Ebner is hurt. McCourty and Harmon don't need a ton of reps. So it's Brooks, Melifonwu, Gant, and somebody named A.J. Howard)
Is Jason McCourty an option at S?
 

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I don't really understand what they are doing at running back.
The running back room is going to be some combination of
Michel
Develin
White
Harris
Bolden
Burkhead

But 6 running backs is a lot (call it 5 if you want to exclude the fullback). I'm going to guess that despite his ability to contribute on special teams that Bolden is going to be the odd man out.

But the guy I'm starting to understand less and less is Burkhead. I actually really like the player but I'm suspect of his ability to stay healthy. He has 6 NFL seasons to his credit but his games played by season are; 1, 9, 16, 16, 10, 8. That's a lot of missed games due to injury and he has always been a secondary option or in a time share. It's reasonable to expect him to miss games in 2019. I really like his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield though, in some ways he is White's back up as an option to catch the ball. But reports from training camp are that Michel has been much more involved in the passing game this year. Damien Harris caught 22 balls last year at Alabama, but asking a rookie RB to step into the passing game is a tall order. I also do not believe that Burkhead played on any special team units last year. Basically with Harris added to the team I'm not sure that Burkhead has a role (unless Michel does not progress as a pass catcher, then Rex's role is much more defined).

But Burkhead is entering year 2 of a three year deal. If they cut him they'll only save $500k against the cap but also have to carry $2.5m in dead money.

We know that they value Bolden's contributions on special teams but Burkhead's contract makes is hard to cut him, even if his role is unclear. With a roster crunch coming from their edge players and DBs it seems like carrying 6 RBs isn't going to be feasible, so I'm guessing Bolden is the guy to go.
 

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Are the Skins interested in a RB?
You bring up great points about the number and quality of our backs. I also see your case for Burkhead being the odd man out.
Add that to the Trent Brown rumors and if true, the need to offset his salary at least partially and well....

Again not sure if the Skins would need or want Burkhead. But his 3 million is pretty manageable especially if they shed Browns 11ish.
 

Super Nomario

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I also do not believe that Burkhead played on any special team units last year. Basically with Harris added to the team I'm not sure that Burkhead has a role (unless Michel does not progress as a pass catcher, then Rex's role is much more defined).
Burkhead played a lot of special teams - he averaged about 14 ST snaps per game he was active for. That's behind Ebner / Slater / King / Jones and McClellan / Humber or Grigson, but ahead of everybody else (he finished 18th on the team in ST snaps because he was inactive for a bunch of games).

I think his role is the same as it was last year - he's the best all-around threat at RB. Not as good a runner as Michel, but a better receiver; not as good a receiver as White, but a better runner. There's a reason he was on the field for the biggest drive of the season.

We know that they value Bolden's contributions on special teams but Burkhead's contract makes is hard to cut him, even if his role is unclear. With a roster crunch coming from their edge players and DBs it seems like carrying 6 RBs isn't going to be feasible, so I'm guessing Bolden is the guy to go.
I could see it. There are two ST spots open with McClellan and Humber gone, but they've added Brooks and Bolden as well as some rookies and redshirt guys from last year who will be looking to step up in that area. Should be a good competition.
 

Super Nomario

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Is Jason McCourty an option at S?
There are options and then there are options. Can he play there in a pinch? Maybe, he did it at the end of the last preseason. Can he be the primary backup at S? That's where I'm skeptical. There's a pretty big difference between the expectations for a guy who is a primary backup at two spots and might play 30-50% of snaps (as Harmon has in the past) and an "in case of emergency break glass option."

I went back and watched Terrence Brooks against the Vikings last year. For those on the "cut Harmon" train, he did play a pure FS role. OTOH, he took a terrible angle on a run play, leading to a 38-yard TD run. He did look fine in coverage, though he wasn't tested too much. He's fast. He did not play a snap on D the rest of the season after the game, despite being active for every contest.
 

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I don't really understand what they are doing at running back.
The running back room is going to be some combination of
Michel
Develin
White
Harris
Bolden
Burkhead

But 6 running backs is a lot (call it 5 if you want to exclude the fullback). I'm going to guess that despite his ability to contribute on special teams that Bolden is going to be the odd man out.

But the guy I'm starting to understand less and less is Burkhead. I actually really like the player but I'm suspect of his ability to stay healthy. He has 6 NFL seasons to his credit but his games played by season are; 1, 9, 16, 16, 10, 8. That's a lot of missed games due to injury and he has always been a secondary option or in a time share. It's reasonable to expect him to miss games in 2019. I really like his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield though, in some ways he is White's back up as an option to catch the ball. But reports from training camp are that Michel has been much more involved in the passing game this year. Damien Harris caught 22 balls last year at Alabama, but asking a rookie RB to step into the passing game is a tall order. I also do not believe that Burkhead played on any special team units last year. Basically with Harris added to the team I'm not sure that Burkhead has a role (unless Michel does not progress as a pass catcher, then Rex's role is much more defined).

But Burkhead is entering year 2 of a three year deal. If they cut him they'll only save $500k against the cap but also have to carry $2.5m in dead money.

We know that they value Bolden's contributions on special teams but Burkhead's contract makes is hard to cut him, even if his role is unclear. With a roster crunch coming from their edge players and DBs it seems like carrying 6 RBs isn't going to be feasible, so I'm guessing Bolden is the guy to go.
Bolden is pretty much a ST, and RBINO. He's more in competition with King, Ebner, Brooks, etc, than with White, Harris, Burkhead.

Develin is a lock especially when you consider that he may almost be more of a TE as FB, at least until Watson finishes his suspension.

That leaves 4 players. And I think that is the right number at RB. Quite likely that one of the 4 may be inactive each week, either due to game plan or injury.
 

joe dokes

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[snip]
But 6 running backs is a lot (call it 5 if you want to exclude the fullback). I'm going to guess that despite his ability to contribute on special teams that Bolden is going to be the odd man out.

But the guy I'm starting to understand less and less is Burkhead. I actually really like the player but I'm suspect of his ability to stay healthy. He has 6 NFL seasons to his credit but his games played by season are; 1, 9, 16, 16, 10, 8. That's a lot of missed games due to injury and he has always been a secondary option or in a time share. It's reasonable to expect him to miss games in 2019. I really like his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield though, in some ways he is White's back up as an option to catch the ball. But reports from training camp are that Michel has been much more involved in the passing game this year. Damien Harris caught 22 balls last year at Alabama, but asking a rookie RB to step into the passing game is a tall order. I also do not believe that Burkhead played on any special team units last year. Basically with Harris added to the team I'm not sure that Burkhead has a role (unless Michel does not progress as a pass catcher, then Rex's role is much more defined).

But Burkhead is entering year 2 of a three year deal. If they cut him they'll only save $500k against the cap but also have to carry $2.5m in dead money.

We know that they value Bolden's contributions on special teams but Burkhead's contract makes is hard to cut him, even if his role is unclear. With a roster crunch coming from their edge players and DBs it seems like carrying 6 RBs isn't going to be feasible, so I'm guessing Bolden is the guy to go.
In addition to his ST play, I see Burkhead in the same way I finally began to see Amendola, both in terms of durability and late-and-post season importance.
 

BigSoxFan

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In addition to his ST play, I see Burkhead in the same way I finally began to see Amendola, both in terms of durability and late-and-post season importance.
Yup. He had some really big carries in the AFCCG and SB. I’m not in any hurry to jettison him. I actually think the team is perfectly set up at RB. Sony takes the lead role with Burkhead sprinkling in, which gives Harris some time to acclimate.

An injury to White or Michel would not be fun but I’d feel much better with Burkhead around.
 

Harry Hooper

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Burkhead's carry from the 5 on the play before the winning touchdown in the AFCG was a superior, tough 3-yard run.
 

( . ) ( . ) and (_!_)

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I feel differently about Burkhead knowing that he did play a fairly significant special teams role. But that also makes me continue to doubt Bolden as making the team even primarily as a special team player. I completely agree with the pats approach to using roster spots on dedicated or mostly dedicated special teamers, I do believe there is value from those players.
SN suggested they are likely looking to restock two special teams roles from last year. Brooks is a well regarded special teamer so if we assign one of those open special teams roles to him then Bolden is seemingly in competition with Obi Melifonwu, Christian Sam, Duke Dawson and longer shots to make the roster like Malik Grant and Gunner. The deciding factor is likely to be how much each of those players can contribute in special teams in 2019 and while Bolden is the best known quantity out of that group he also offers the least long term upside. If someone from the first group of Melifonwu, Sam, Dawson can give them most of what Bolden provides to the kicking game then I'd rather they keep the young depth at S, LB or CB vs. an older running back.
 

Super Nomario

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I'm with you but the downside is hard to quantify. What you're losing is a chance to develop another player (I think of the Ravens kind of hanging on to an Adalius Thomas or Jarret Johnson for a few years as special teams guys before they really contributed on defense) but then realistically how many marginal roster cuts have the Pats had who you really think would have developed into a strong positional player here with time? There just aren't that many that I can think of -- maybe a Crevon LeBlanc or Grugier Hill?
It is hard to tell, because the counterfactuals should also include guys they didn't draft because they couldn't contribute on STs, and who knows there.

The examples you list are funny / interesting. LeBlanc is a guy where things did work out, because they went with Jonathan Jones over LeBlanc, and not only has Jones contributed on STs, he's developed into a contributor at CB and probably the better defensive option. Grugier-Hill is a case where they went with the lesser special teams option in Elandon Roberts; Roberts has played a lot on D but been kind of a mixed bag. Grugier-Hill was 208 coming out, so they might have just felt he was too light to play LB for them.