Which Remaining Groceries Should the Pats Buy?

TheoShmeo

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With Gillislee now in the fold and Amendola having restructured his contract, this Pats team looks as loaded as ever. I can't recall them ever being deeper at RB and WR, particularly at the same time. In my view, there are not many areas that scream out for addition in the draft or free agency. At least with respect to the 2017 team.

That's obviously not entirely accurate, as there are always areas of need, and Bill is not just looking at next season as he gets ready for the draft and considers additional free agents.

I think they should be focusing on:

- pass rushers, edge rushers

- offensive line depth, all postions

- a third TE given to push Matt Lengel given the possibility that Gronk will go down at some point

- LB

- a place kicker to give Ghost some competition in training camp given his extra point adventures in key spots (and yes, I know that his kick offs in the SB were critical)

- CB if Malcolm goes

- QB if Schefter is forced to eat crow

What am I missing? What would you want Bill and NIck to key on as they fill out the roster?

PS: Are there any individual players in free agency who you have your eye on still?
 
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GammonsSpecialPerson

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Left tackle, because Solder's contract expires soon. Cannon has proven he is much more effective on the right. Fleming may have developed into quality depth on the right side but has barely played the left and doesn't have the athleticism required. Waddle is not a long term answer. Is Thuney an option outside? He would need to improve drastically for that to be a Plan B or Plan C at the position.
 

Super Nomario

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Safety is another position I could see. McCourty and Chung both turn 30 this summer, and while they re-signed Harmon, Richards has shown little. Safety is also a place where you get a lot of special teams value.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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While it's hardly a need in 2017, I expect they'll still add an RB or two in the later rounds and/or PFA. Dion and Burkhead are both up after this season, Gaffney has been released, and I expect they'll want some young RB picking up the system from the comfort of the taxi squad this year.
 

Maximus

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LT and OL depth, LB's, Edge rushers, Safety, and corners are always important in today's NFL.
 

Stitch01

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I expect they mostly go BPA in the draft although QB doesnt make a lot of sense if they don't move Jimmy G, a WR needs an injury to make the roster, and a high RB seems unlikely.

Interior of the OL has been below average for years so that's the easiest area of focus and most likely place a rookie could help this year, particularly in the draft with the guard FA market blowing up. Tackle too if they aren't going to extend Solder, but less likely
to find where they currently are drafting.

TE probably. Gronk and Allen could be the tandem for several years, but neither are 2018 roster locks and would be nice to have some 2017 injury protectiob

Corner probably more likely there is a role on this years team, safety also a long term need

But they can mostly draft BPA, there's no glaring hole headed into the draft. If Butler or Jimmy G are moved CB and QB become higher priority positions
 

BaseballJones

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If they plan on keeping Butler, then I think they're solid at CB. I'd like them to draft LB and T as the main priorities. Also I agree that they need to bring in a kicker to push Ghost.

EDIT: I will say that I don't recall ever feeling like the Patriots have been this talented and this deep, heading into the draft.
 
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InstaFace

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- a third TE given to push Matt Lengel given the possibility that Gronk will go down at some point
Doesn't Dwayne Allen count as Gronk insurance, at least as far as a plausible Bennett replacement? I don't mind Lengel as the "tall TE project" a la Scott Chandler, we cashier those every year or two and I'm not sure any have worked out.

Talking about needing a kicker to compete with Ghost is madness. Our kicking game was rated #2 in the league last year behind PHI. He missed a few extra points in the regular season and two in the postseason, one of which nearly proved disastrous, but I don't think it's predictive in any fashion. He was clearly thrown off by the new kickoff rules at the start of the season, trying to land everything on the 5, but once he reverted to "Boom it" as an approach, his FG mechanics fixed themselves.
 
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TheoShmeo

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Doesn't Dwayne Allen count as Gronk insurance, at least as far as a plausible Bennett replacement? I don't mind Lengel as the "tall TE project" a la Scott Chandler, we cashier those every year or two and I'm not sure any have worked out.
Yes. But the Pats like to have two TEs who are pass catching threats, and my point was that they might want to explore an upgrade to Lengel on the chance that Gronk (or Allen) goes down. Admittedly, this is not high on my list of needs.
 

Rico Guapo

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OL OL OL OL OL, they have to protect Brady the best they can before Father Time shows up.

I think they could use some talent at LB to help Hightower out, interior DL is questionable after Branch, could use another edge rusher to compliment Flowers.
 

nothumb

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Medical Redshirts seem like obvious picks also. Jake Butt for example.
I like it.

OL, pass rush, safety are the areas I see them addressing via draft. Probably not as much with LB, they already have lots of mid tier vets or specialist / flyer type guys, and they don't have a high enough pick (as of now) to draft a real top end guy to pair with High. They may look again at big hybrid type safeties too.

If they do get back into the first round I think that opens up the possibility of going after a T or a BPA defensive stud almost regardless of position.
 

Pxer

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While it's hardly a need in 2017, I expect they'll still add an RB or two in the later rounds and/or PFA. Dion and Burkhead are both up after this season, Gaffney has been released, and I expect they'll want some young RB picking up the system from the comfort of the taxi squad this year.
I'm sure they'll grab a UDFA, but they've still got DJ Foster for the PS.

I'd like to see them grab one of the many solid TE prospects in round 3 or 4, as well as a shoot-for-the-moon athletic LB in that range.

If they go corner, they're going to look for a slot guy, but I'm betting they're happy with what they have, so I don't expect a CB before round 6. I think it's a better use of resources to use a higher pick on O-Line help. I think they might try to move up in round 4 or 5 if they see a OL they like there.

That leaves Hopefully taking an edge rusher in round 3/4, as I think it's the biggest immediate need depending on how Ealy pans out.

I also don't see them getting safety help to speak of in the draft, as I think they'll try to replace Chung through FA next year.
 
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dcmissle

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Medical Redshirts seem like obvious picks also. Jake Butt for example.
Mayock thinks he should be drafted in the second round and rates him among the top handful of TEs. But that seems high. That's two ACLs on the same knee while at Michigan.
 

InstaFace

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From the Gillislee thread:
I almost forgot we had Gronk coming back too. Giddy up!
that post made me laugh out loud. "oh yeah, and they added a future-HOF offensive weapon who literally cannot be covered by any one player, it requires a full pack of wolves to bring him down"

I just want BB to have Gronk be deactivated purely for health reasons for like 5-6 games. Bills games, Jets games, maybe the Saints and Chargers. "Sure, we could play him if we needed to, but we'd rather keep him for when it matters".

But anyway, other than opportunistic places to pick up an under-utilized veteran on the Mike Vrabel plan, where we need the most depth is still OL, with DE a distant second. Andrews ran hot and cold last year, Mason was more cold than hot, and Solder is great but is going into his contract year at age 29. No Patriots fan can complain about anything, of course, but I'd say I'm "the least unconcerned" about the offensive line.
 

The Mort Report

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Sooo based on my past experiences with these threads about who the pats should be targeting right before the draft I'm expecting a QB, 3 WR and 2 hybrid defensive types with no set position that "ooze athleticism"
 

BigSoxFan

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I'd love nothing more than to see Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis win a SB with the Pats. Not sure if Mangold would move to guard but would like to see him as a Waters-esque pickup.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Linebacker is thin as shit. We're 1 Hightower injury away from fielding a pretty ugly unit. And it's not.uncommon for him to miss games.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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While it's hardly a need in 2017, I expect they'll still add an RB or two in the later rounds and/or PFA. Dion and Burkhead are both up after this season, Gaffney has been released, and I expect they'll want some young RB picking up the system from the comfort of the taxi squad this year.
I forgot about DJ Foster, who is perfectly cromulent deep depth and a potential 2018 asset. I'd spend the entire 2017 draft investing in OL, TE, and edge rushers. Still wouldn't mind seeing the other McCourty sign on as well.
 

wiffleballhero

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Linebacker. After Hightower (as KFP said) you do wonder...

And I can't remember ever actually feeling like there was enough depth on the O line.

Do any NFL teams ever really get enough line depth though? I doubt it. Offensive line depth seems a bit like money -- it sort of does not matter how much you have, it is always good to have more, especially because it is easy to lose (again, like cash).
 

Saints Rest

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I don't think we will see any signings for anything more than vet minimum unless there are commensurate cap savings (due to trades, e.g. Butler, or cuts/restructuring, e.g. Amendola)
I think they will keep the rest of the cap room for extensions, draft picks (which presumably willl be a low number), or rollover.
 

Pxer

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The crazy thing about this team is they are absolutely a nightmare to prepare for. Not only do they have skilled players, but they are so deep that to prepare for every contingency, a team has to put in a lot of extra work. The skills of the RB/WR are more diverse than what you'd ordinarily prepare for. The Patriots don't have a lot of like-for-like swaps when using different personnel.

That makes their playbook probably a little more complicated than you'd expect, but it's a helluva lot easier to master that when you have year-round dedication to it, and teams gameplan for their opponents for less than a week usually. That could be information overload for some defensive opponents.
 

nothumb

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Linebacker is thin as shit. We're 1 Hightower injury away from fielding a pretty ugly unit. And it's not.uncommon for him to miss games.
I agree, but also, without any high picks, and given the LBs left in FA, how do they really address this? I feel like the LBs you can get that deep in the draft are going to be mostly de facto redshirt / ST candidates, especially given BB's typical approach to the position being a bit vet-heavy. I could see them adding a LB or hybrid type, but probably not a guy who projects to do much this year. They have lots of guys who seem good enough to hold off your average low-round rookie for a roster spot, but not so good that you like your depth after High.
 

TheoShmeo

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I don't think we will see any signings for anything more than vet minimum unless there are commensurate cap savings (due to trades, e.g. Butler, or cuts/restructuring, e.g. Amendola)
I think they will keep the rest of the cap room for extensions, draft picks (which presumably willl be a low number), or rollover.
Agreed that we are unlikely to see any "premium" free agents but with around $20 mm of cap room and only a handful of draft picks right now, and will Bill being pretty unpredictable, you never know.

I don't know if Fusco is a veteran minimum type or if the recent visit was anything more than kicking the tires. But Hanable speculates that they will sign some more free agents, fwiw.

http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/this-just-in/213426966/veteran-ol-fusco-reportedly-visits-patriots
 

BigSoxFan

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Agreed that we are unlikely to see any "premium" free agents but with around $20 mm of cap room and only a handful of draft picks right now, and will Bill being pretty unpredictable, you never know.

I don't know if Fusco is a veteran minimum type or if the recent visit was anything more than kicking the tires. But Hanable speculates that they will sign some more free agents, fwiw.

http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/this-just-in/213426966/veteran-ol-fusco-reportedly-visits-patriots
Pats should be in good position to nab some camp casualties in the summer should there be any of interest.
 

Stitch01

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Do they have to leave room in case Hernandez' estate comes after the $6mm owed? Even if they are likely to win, I dont know what the rules are about cap accounting for disputed salary
 

Stitch01

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For the money paid out it is, but there's an argument that now the Hernandez estate will sue for the rest of the guaranteed portion of the contract ( I think $6MM) since Hernandez will legally not have been convicted of a crime. So if that goes to grievance, I dont know how the Pats have to account for it as the grievance plays out.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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For the money paid out it is, but there's an argument that now the Hernandez estate will sue for the rest of the guaranteed portion of the contract ( I think $6MM) since Hernandez will legally not have been convicted of a crime. So if that goes to grievance, I dont know how the Pats have to account for it as the grievance plays out.
Ben Volin covered this topic last week.

And it’s a moot point, anyway. NFL Players Association records show that the Patriots and Hernandez settled a grievance that Hernandez filed in 2014. The settlement gave the Patriots a salary cap credit of $1.184 million, indicating a Patriots win. Additionally, according to Joel Corry — an attorney, salary cap expert, and former NFL agent — grievance settlements almost always tie up all loose ends.

“Typically when there’s a settlement, there’s some sort of catch-all language: ‘This will resolve all claims known or which could be known in the future,’ ” Corry said. “I haven’t seen too many settlements which don’t have some type of form of that kind of language.”

snip

Hernandez lost his grievance, and his contract would likely prevent him from collecting any of the money now, despite the lack of a conviction on his record. According to Paragraph 35 (c) of Hernandez’s contract, which was obtained by the Globe, “Player represents and warrants to the Club that . . . no circumstances exist that would prevent Player’s continuing availability to the Club for the duration of the Contract.” Article 4.9 (a) of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement also states that “any player who . . . is unavailable to the team due to conduct by him that results in his incarceration . . . may be required to forfeit signing bonus . . . for each League Year in which a Forfeitable Breach occurs.”

Even though Hernandez was found not guilty of the 2012 double murder, the Patriots can reasonably argue that Hernandez didn’t represent his reckless behavior during that time, and that when he signed the contract he was headed down the path of incarceration and unavailability.

“Just because he’s legally not guilty doesn’t mean that he didn’t actually do anything,” Corry said. “Maybe he didn’t do the murder, but was he an accessory? He was going to end up standing trial anyway, which would have triggered this stuff. And given how much he was going off the rails, who’s to say he wouldn’t have done something between Lloyd and now where he would have imploded?”
https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/patriots/2017/04/20/aaron-hernandez-estate-not-likely-collect-more-money-from-patriots/q1lDGaTyyElNoSBAHwSgJM/story.html
 

Stitch01

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Right, but even if its a losing case for the NFLPA, I dont know how the Pats have to account for it during the process if they end up having to defend a grievance.
 

Chainsaw318

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No word on Jason McCourty in a bit.

Would still be interested, pending any Butler move, and even along with Butler, as depth could be key, and he may take a lesser deal to complete the McCourty set.
 

RetractableRoof

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With Butler's status up in the air next year (as far as we know) and the perception of CB depth in the draft I'm hoping Sidney Jones (CB - U Washington) slides due to him wrecking his leg at the schools pro day. I think he's an example of an injury homerun for the Patriots - they can afford to wait on him if necessary. I just wonder if he will slide enough.
 

Dr. Gonzo

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More than likely will wait until after May 9 so any signings don't factor into the compensatory pick formula.
 

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TheoShmeo

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B/R pegging former Browns TE Gary Barnidge as a future Patriot. "Only" 612 yards after coming off of a spectacular 1,043 yards season in 2015:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2707061-nfl-free-agents-2017-projecting-homes-for-best-players-on-market-post-draft

He visited the Bills (left w/o a contract) but hey, why not?

Love that he played all 16 games last year and still caught 55 catches. Also had a similar catch % (63.2 in 2015 vs 67.1 in 2016).
Reading that B/R piece, I'm sold that it's a good idea. But between Lengel, O'Sullivan and the UDFA TE that they signed, I'm guessing that they will stay internal rather than sign another TE who will cost some real coin (or one would think). Not that I would be that surprised if Bill did this.
 
Lots of rumors saying Navorro Bowman will be cut. Immediately I thought he'd be an excellent fit for NE considering how weak the roster is at LB.

Then I read this brief article by Grant Cohn who covers the Niners for the Press Democrat (see quote below). Maybe I'm wrong and Bowman is all done. If he is cut does anybody think he has enough left to contribute?

At his age and after all his surgeries, Bowman can’t run sideline to sideline and chase down running backs because he’s slow. And he can’t cover anyone on passing plays because he doesn’t quickly change directions any more.

That was clear in 2015, before he tore his Achilles tendon. Quarterbacks had a completion percentage of 90.3 and a passer rating of 110.9 when they threw to someone Bowman was covering. He couldn’t keep up.

This week during OTAs, Bowman couldn’t even keep up with Garrett Celek, a blocking tight end who probably won’t make the 49ers’ final roster. Celek is not a quick player, but he beat Bowman easily. On one play, Bowman had to reach out and desperately grab Celek’s jersey because Celek easily ran past him. That would be a penalty in a real game.
 
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