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Bill Belichick on free agency: "If you can work it out, you work it out"

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The Patriots have a stacked class of free agents this offseason, and Bill Belichick isn't worried about it.

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If your gameday wardrobe consists of a Jamie Collins jersey, or a Malcolm Butler jersey, or a Dont'a Hightower jersey, or a Jabaal Sheard jersey, or if you have Malcolm Butler's goal-line Super Bowl miracle interception framed in the man-cave, or...well, you get the idea, if any of these describe you, you're understandably nervous about how the Patriots will handle their lineup of blue-chip free agents this offseason.

Bill Belichick, however, is not worried.  Either that, or he has an excellent poker face.

CSNNE's Tom Curran caught up with Bill and talked about how the Patriots could deal out the contract$ in free agency this year, and how the team could re-sign some of those key players.

"In general there's some team planning you can do.  Sometimes, if you can work out a contract with a player during the season - we've done that with various players - if you can work it out, you work it out.  If you can't, then there've been a number of players we've signed - our players - that we signed once free agency has started. Devin (McCourty), to pick a name."

"I don't think you can be afraid of free agency.  It's not like if a guy gets to free agency you can't re-sign him.  You're in a competitive market, but, you know, you're in a competitive market anyway."

That last bit is a big part of what makes New England's upcoming free agency season simultaneously exciting and nail-biting - yes, you can try to re-sign all the key players on the roster before free agency, but there's no guarantee that the guys will take an offer from the Patriots instead of testing their market value - and for a lot of these guys, it'll be their first-ever dive into free agency - AKA their first chance for a beaucoup bucks contract.

That's what Belichick is getting at here:

"These guys know that they have other options depending on who the player is and what the situation is.  They have other options but we know there's only so much money to go around.  If you can work it out, then you have that security.  If you can't then you have your options.  They have their options, we have our options.  That's professional sports.  I don't think it's different than any other pro football team or any pro team.  You see the same in all the other sports."

"It's been that way...since we had free agency.  That's what it is.  That's the way it is in all sports.  Basketball season's over, you're talking about a few guys going here, going there, staying with their team, whatever.  You're not gonna be able to get around that.  Even if we were to sign a couple of those guys or whatever that is, there's going to be a couple of guys that aren't so you can talk about those.  Same thing we come in here Monday after every game.  Somebody had production (but media asks) 'But what about these guys, this guy didn't catch that many passes, this guy didn't get that many carries.'  There's always those guys to ask about.  There's no simple answer to it."

(Side note: come on, Bill, the answer to that last one is the same answer you always use! "We did what we thought was best for the football team", or any of the thousands of riffs on that idea.)

The bright side to all of this free agency stressing out, as our fearless leader Rich Hill has noted about a bazillion times, is that the Patriots are currently projected to have the most cap space in the entire NFL in 2016. Bill may be playing Monopoly with real cash, but he does have the money to make some big - maybe even market-setting - deals if he thinks the player in question is worth it.

Yes, market-setting.  They've done it before, and they'll likely do it again.

And if you're one of those people that constantly moans that Bill & Kraft never pay their players, consider that just 18 months ago, the Patriots gave Devin McCourty the most guaranteed money ever for a safety.  Not the biggest contract, mind you, but the most guaranteed money.  You know, real money.  Money the players know they're actually going to get.

So even if your favorite player isn't re-signed yet, just follow Belichick's lead and take the Van Wilder approach:

"Worrying is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."