(Thanks to MOSS81 for inspiring me to write this)
There has been a recent flurry of acquisitions by rival teams (and by "flurry", I mean Santonio Holmes and Brandon Marshall) and our own New England Patriots seem to be content to stay put. Now this must be frustrating for everyone, seeing other teams getting better, while we remain constant. It's aggravating to see other pundits give away our AFC East title crown to the Jets, when we still have claim (sorry to Dolphins fans last year when we didn't give your team credit. It's annoying.).
Despite all the movement, there's one mantra that Patriots fans everywhere say:
In Belichick, we trust.
Our team is currently a ball of clay. It's unformed and without an identity. We've had our locker room veterans leave en masse, we've struck out in past free agencies and the fruits of some recent drafts have left the cupboards bare, leaving us with only a small core of players, packed together with many band-aid players.
This ends with this draft.
We have a chance to grab twelve players who fit the Patriots way. Twelve players to fill the team needs. Twelve players to play for the future. Twelve players who will become the core of our team. We have youth leadership in Jerod Mayo who is blossoming before our eyes. We have veteran leadership in the newly resigned Vince Wilfork. We have a model which our front office is trying to complete. Bill Belichick is the architect. He's the mastermind behind the team, finding the pieces to bring this team back to the top. He's the modeler for our clay.
There were top notch players available in free agency and players who could have been acquired via trade. We didn't bite.
See why, after the jump.
We've let Julius Peppers go the Chicago Bears. Karlos Dansby and Brandon Marshall go to the Dolphins. Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie go to the New York Jets. Dunta Robinson went to the Atlanta Falcons. Joey Porter went to the Arizona Cardinals. Anquan Boldin went to the Ravens. We could have utilized our many draft picks to pick up top notch restricted free agents. We could have put forth the money to acquire the unrestricted free agents. We could have dangled some of our players to grab some players in the trade market. We did none of that.
Why didn't we try and grab these top tier players? Wouldn't they have been worth any type of deal if it pushed us over the edge and back on top?
Let's start with Holmes.
The acquisition of Holmes would have required a 4th round selection because we don’t currently have a 5th rounder. That also means that we’d be getting a player suspended for the first 4 games of the season, with the potential for more depending upon his other law suits. A 4th round pick for a 12 game loan just isn’t our front office’s style, especially when we’re trying to build a team for the long run. Also, trading our 4th means that we wouldn’t have a pick in the 3rd, 4th or 5th round- where we get the majority of our depth. I don’t see us sacrificing the middle of the draft to get an off-the-field troubled receiver (Moss was a disgruntled player on the field, but wasn’t bad off it).