The New England Patriots offseason kicked off with the retirement of linebacker Jerod Mayo. Mayo and his monster contract were the clear favorite when it came down to offseason business decisions.
But with Mayo out of the picture, there's some confusion as to what the next move should be. He was that obvious. So I decided to ask the folks on Twitter for their opinions:
So what's the consensus next move for the Patriots offseason? Mayo was definitely #1. Let's hear it.— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) February 17, 2016
I received a bunch of replies, but make sure you vote in the poll below to voice your opinion.
Cut WR Aaron Dobson - I don't know why this would be the top of the list; at least let him come back to camp to compete.
Get draft pick back - Not going to happen, but worth mentioning to keep in focus how atrocious the NFL league offices can be.
Sign Chargers TE Ladarius Green - That's an interesting note, and I think he'd be a great fit for the Patriots, but with Chargers veteran and all time great TE Antonio Gates set to retire in the near future, I doubt the Patriots could outbid San Diego.
Sign Patriots DT Akiem Hicks - I could get on board with this! Hicks is clearly the top priority free agent for New England and his ability far outweighs whatever value the Patriots could get with the compensatory pick from his departure (I'd take Hicks over a 5th round pick any day of the week).
@PP_Rich_Hill signing von miller— I Hate Everything (@Brady12ToMoss81) February 17, 2016
Well, I mean, I don't know if this is possible in any way, but...we'll take it into consideration.
@PP_Rich_Hill name Tom Brady president of the world— Mathieu Daoust (@Mathieu_Daoust) February 17, 2016
This should be at the top of the list.
6. Find a running back
There were a few mentions for Chris Ivory and a few for Matt Forte, and I'll just throw out the idea that LeGarrette Blount could return on the veteran's minimum and both sides would be pretty okay with that. New England would do well to draft a bruising running back to be the eventual replacement of Blount, but signing a veteran free agent allows the Patriots to walk away from the position in the draft if the value doesn't present itself (and it might not).
5. Extend linebacker Jamie Collins
Collins has to be one of the most athletic players to ever walk through Gillette Stadium and he'll be entering the final year of his contract. The retirement of Mayo means the retention of linebackers like Collins is of the utmost importance. Collins is still getting better.
4. Deal with Brandon LaFell
This vote came with a few mentions for bringing in a veteran wide receiver, and I'm on board with both. The Patriots should keep LaFell around as his contract is extremely reasonable for his production. Bring in another veteran wide receiver to compete with LaFell (and Dobson) for the same roster spots, and the best players make it to the regular season. You're not going to find a player that can mesh in at wide receiver on the side of the road on a team-friendly deal.
3. Extend linebacker Dont'a Hightower
This has to happen. I'm in the camp that Hightower is the best player on the Patriots defense and that he needs to stick around for the long haul. He'll be back and an extension early on in the offseason will open up cap space for the team to sign other players.
2. Cut offensive tackle Marcus Cannon
This was accompanied by a few calls to find a cheap veteran free agent, which is also possible. I think the best case for the team would be to restructure Cannon down to a lower market level, and then use the saved cap space to bring in a veteran free agent. Honestly, the team shouldn't move forward with Cameron Fleming as the #4 tackle on the depth chart, especially with the injury history of Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, and Cannon.
1. Restructure wide receiver Danny Amendola
It made me happy to see so many people specifically call for a restructure instead of a cut for Amendola. You don't let your #2 receiver walk if you can help it, so bringing Amendola down to the money of Brandon LaFell or something like that would be in the team's best interest. Amendola's current $5 million base salary is unacceptable, so look for the team to counter with a lower base, but with the opportunity to recuperate all of the funds with not-likely-to-be-earned (NLTBE) incentives to help out with the salary cap.
Personally, I'm a little surprised that a few other options didn't receive attention, but I understand why.
Cornerback Malcolm Butler could use an extension, but he'll be a restricted free agent so the team has him under control for an extra year.
Edge defenders Chandler Jones, Jabaal Sheard, and Rob Ninkovich are free agents after this season, so it'd be in the team's best interest to find a way to retain at least one of first two players for the long term (due to age).
Defensive backs Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon will be free agents after 2016. They need contracts or replacements on deck.
The team could sign a veteran interior lineman to help out with the youngsters in the middle of the offense. A top quality player could go a long way for stabilizing the offensive line.
There's a lot to accomplish this offseason. What's #1 for you?