Curious, where do we get the most beef for our buck?
-Middlesex, likely regretfully
Yesterday I offered my raw projections for the ballpark contracts I would expect this rookie crop to receive, and Middlesex proposed an interesting question: Where are the Patriots getting the best deal, on a per weight basis?
The Patriots paid additional focus on upgrading their offensive line in this draft, with a specific focus on getting larger on the offensive line. It makes sense when you're developing a young quarterback; you want a line that can establish the run in order to take pressure off of an inexperienced quarterback. The Patriots are drafting this line now so they'll be savvy veterans by the time Jimmy Garoppolo takes over the offense.
With this in mind, I decided to compare the cap hits of each player on the Patriots roster, with the help of Miguel from PatsCap (including my rookie projections), on a per pound basis (according to the Patriots official website).
Here's the top 10:
We naturally find that those towards the top of the list are the top skill position players; in fact, there are only two linemen (the elderstatesmen Mankins and Wilfork).
First off- Tom. C'mon. You're getting paid like royalty. It's time to start living like it's an 11th century agrarian societyand look like your wealth. You're making over three times more per pound that Vince, who, by the way, totally understands how this works. In order to even out the ratios, Tom, you need to come back to the pack with regards to ratios. If you want to get on a similar per-pound ratio as Wilfork, you need to eat a few sandwiches and pack on a few pounds.
Like, you need to weight 720 pounds to earn the same amount per pound as Big Vince. Go on. I'm sure Giselle won't mind.
Of course, the original question was more directed towards the beeftrenches. I'll take the time to note that the official website doesn't actually distinguish which players fall under the position of "center," which means that it's extraordinarily fluid. In fact, the only players with set positions on the offensive line are guard Logan Mankins, tackles Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder, and new psycho-Mankins guard Jon Halapio.
Everyone else is listed an an "offensive lineman."
For the sake of this argument, I've extended the "beeftrenches" description to not just the offensive line, but also to include those on the defensive side of the ball, preferably at the defensive tackle position. For here, I'll note a few peculiarities:
Armond Armstead is listed as a defensive end, with Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, and Jake Bequette.
Chris Jones and Sealver Siliga as the only two players listed at defensive tackle.
Everyone else is cast under the wide net of "defensive line."
As a result, I'm counting Jones, Nink, and Bequette as "Beeftrench Personnel." Here's the list:
So where's the best bang-for-our-beef? I'm inclined to single out all 325 pounds of newly-issued #96 defensive tackle Sealver Siliga. He and Chris Jones are the only impact players not listed at the top, and I feel comfortable saying that Siliga has outplayed Jones with his time on the field.
The top four $/lbs players raise some flags with regards to play on the field, but not to leadership. Mankins and Wilfork are the captains and their weight on the roster extends beyond just their earthly sizes (and that's not a fat joke). Mankins, Wilfork, and Vollmer all have their issues with injuries, even as Mankins is coming off a healthy season, and Connolly seems to be out of place with regards to talent level.
Humor aside, what this does show is that the Patriots need to start finding impact players in the middle of the draft if they wish to transition forward. Six of the top eight names will be 30 for this season, implying a top-heavy approach to building the defensive lines. While it's important to build through the trenches, a well-structured team should have some age balance to transition towards youth.
Perhaps that's what we'll see with this season's beef-import. If bargain price Stork and Halapio can supplant Connolly and Wendell, not only with the unit see an infusion of much needed youth, but it will also reduce the overall weight of beef on the salary cap.
This camp will certainly be exciting if you're interested in where the beef is coming from, and what beef is shipping out the door.