First my thoughts on Sanders. In some ways he seems like overkill at a position which already has Edelman, Amendola, Donald Jones, etc. however, on the other hand, we all know that only about half of the WRs who are brought in actually fit with Brady and this system... and we also know both Edelman and Amendola have injury histories that lend to the argument that depth is critical to fill the role these guys can play.
My hopes were that they would bring in Dobson, Rogers, or some other decent big outside target through the draft late in the 2nd or early in the 3rd round. Losing a 3rd in this trade for Sanders would seem to make it much less likely that they would draft a WR, of any type, that has any chance of coming in and being productive in that role.
Dennard's sentence allows him to be involved with the Patriots from day one, to whenever their season ends. At the end of the day, that's all that really matters to us fans. For the team, it means they kept intact their Secondary from last year, and that continuity and familiarity hopefully will show some dividends in 2013... bringing in Wilson to replace Chung as the SS heavy hitter is an upgrade. If Dennard, Tevon Wilson and Nate Ebner can improve from last season the Secondary will be solid and have the depth they need. If Dowling actually shows up and plays football for the 2013 season, they might have the best Secondary they have had since '03-'04.
The Patriots also have solid potential contributors in Armstead, Vega, and Tommy Kelly that have never played one snap of football for the Patriots, added to the front seven of the Defense. The Defense has these new veteran talents, and they have Jones, Hightower, Francis and others from last year's draft that could step up their games even more in year 2.
They didn't lose anyone on the Defense of note, but have already added in some potential big-time contributors.
They've had a major shake up at WR, but as of now, I expect that to equal out, all the new faces should be able to fill the void of Welker and Lloyd's production. If they are very lucky, and this group is unusually healthy this year, they will give Brady even better options than he had last year.
The TE position with Ballard and Fells, to pair up with Hern and Gronk, should be able to field two healthy TEs in every game, even with some injuries along the way.
The only team in the AFC that looks to have improved more, is perhaps the Broncos. The Ravens have been blown apart, the Steelers have lost their top WR and LB and age is creeping up on their biggest remaining stars, the path looks clear for the Patriots marching all the way to the AFCCG at the least, unless major disaster strikes along the way.