The Patriots had a rough up and down (mostly down) off-season last year:
- Tom Brady renegotiated his contract to free up cap space and extended until he is 40. That was pretty much the last of the up side.
- Wes Welker leaves the Patriots in the hope of grabbing Peyton's balls.
- Danny Amendola signs with the Patriots.
- The Patriots jettison Brandon Lloyd to pursue his new direct to DVD career.
- The Patriots draft a couple new receivers in Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce, and picked up several UDFAs like Kenbrell Thompkins.
- The Patriots decide not to re-sign Deion Branch, so he eventually signs with the Colts.
- Danny Woodhead leaves for greener pastures.
- Rob Gronkowski undergoes some surgeries.
- The Patriots sign Tim Tebow complete with circus and car full of clowns.
- Aaron Hernandez is arrested for murder and released by the Patriots.
- Potential Tight End, Tim Tebow, is released to pursue his Super Bowl commercial options.
- Tight-Ends Daniel Fells, Jake Ballard, and Zach Sudfeld are all released.
The most prolific wide receiver for the Patriots over the past several years was Wes Welker, with Brady looking his way more often than any other target:
Tight End #1:
Tight End #2:
Tight End #3:
Running Back #1:
Running Back #2:
- Wes Welker's departure was a non-issue as slot receivers seem to be a fungible commodity in Foxboro. We have enough capable receivers to cover the void even if Edelman leaves.
- When Brandon Lloyd was outed, we actually improved a great deal at the position.
- Deion Branch didn't see a lot of action and his replacement saw even less, as Brady seldom made it that far in his progressions.
- Danny Woodhead wasn't really missed as Vereen matched his production in half as many games.
Tight end troubles:
- Aaron Hernandez's departure left a gaping hole at tight end that was filled by surplus production at the third wide receiver position. We had no one that could do what he did, so they improvised.
- The fall off from the third TE spot is more of a lack of Gronk than anything. Without him on the field, teams have much less to worry about, and can pay more attention to depth tight ends.
- The number one problem was the big man himself. The loss of 200 yards is tough enough to handle, but the 7 TDs we lost were gone for good. The Patriots had a hard time reaching the end zone when Gronk was off the field.