"As long as we’ve got Brady, we'll be fine."
I find myself saying this at the end of every season. It is true, Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL right now and with him the Patriots will always be considered at least contenders heading into every season. But Brady is getting older. Time is running out.
"The window is closing for this team."
God, how many times have I heard that over the last few years. Brady will be turing 37 before the start of the 2014 season and that window might really start closing soon. Granted every year Brady shows us that he is immortal and that that window will never close, but why wait and see? Why not load up this offseason, give Brady all the weapons he could ever want and try to win a championship now? We were so close this year.
Patriots fans have been clamoring for the Pats to go ‘all in’ and throw contracts at top free agents in the hope that stocking up on talent will bring a championship back to Foxboro. It may, but going ‘all in’ takes both money and luck that the Patriots don’t seem to have.
I did a whole breakdown on the Patriots cap space earlier so if you haven’t read that, go read it:
Excellent, well as you now know, the Patriots don’t have a lot of space moving into this offseason due to contracts and also money owed to Aaron Hernandez (didn’t cover that in the article). With key players to resign first, the Patriots won’t have the money to throw at big name free agents like Eric Decker, T.J. Ward, Alterraun Verner or Brian Orakpo (though god I would love that).
Lots of Luck
Also, if you approach the offseason with the intent to just sign big name players and waste your money there, you have to hope that those players can stay healthy all season long, which doesn’t seem to work too often for the Patriots.
Think of teams who have this ‘all in’ mentality. The Cowboys and the Redskins are two teams that just to mind. These are teams that spend money right and left to bring in the big names, but if those big name players get injured, they have no depth to replace them. These teams are like a dog chasing it’s own tail, they throw money around hoping to buy a championship but ultimately just dig themselves into a bigger hole. Do you want the Pats to turn into the shit show that is the Cowboys? Seriously, Jerry Jones, get your shit together man.
Build a Team
Now look at two teams that have been the best in the league over the last two years. Both the Seahawks and 49ers (the best two teams in the NFL by my opinion) have the big name stars, but these stars are on great contracts because both teams drafted extremely well. I’m looking at you Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Patrick Willis, Colin Kaepernick. This allows the cap room to sign depth and build a team, not a starting roster. Look at the Seahawks this season. How many times a game did someone mention the depth that the Seahawks had? Probably at least a million. Hell, the Super Bowl MVP was a backup linebacker. That’s depth right there.
The Patriots have always taken pride in building a team and that helped them out big time this past season. Yes, ultimately we didn’t have the depth or talent to match the insane machine that was the Denver Broncos, but this last season could have easily been a 9 win season, instead of 12.
The Patriots organization knows that Brady and Belichick’s (since I think Bill will retire when Brady does) years are coming to a close and they want to give them another championship. But they will be smart about it and instead of throwing money at a few big name players, they will sign depth, building a team around Brady.
This means shoring up the offensive line, building depth in the defense and the receiving core. It means signing players like Riley Cooper, Dexter McCluster, Scott Chandler, Arthur Jones, Pat Angerer and Antoine Cason to name a few. Not necessarily the biggest names out there but players who can fit what the Patriots need at the right price.
So for all those clamoring for big name free agents, calm down. There’s no one player out there that will win the Patriots the Super Bowl. The Patriots will build a team through free agency and the draft (which they have been very good at recently) and that TEAM will win Brady his fourth Super Bowl.