Patriots: Get Deep Man



No, Bill Belichick isn’t a BEAT poet. At least I don’t see him at any of the coffee houses I hang out in – but he did get deep this past week. In the aftermath of the feeding frenzy that will forever happen in the opening week of NFL free agency, Bellichick addressed three of the most glaring needs coming into this off-season. The lack of depth at some very critical position was down right glaring in the final third of the season and blinding in The AFC title game in Denver. And in a 48-hour period BB attacked it in a way I might a bowl of chili. Did these moves cost him? Maybe, we can’t be sure. What we are sure of is the fact that moves had to be made and Bill pulled no punches when making them.



There is no doubt that the best player involved in any of these moves left Foxboro. Chandler Jones is young and talented but is about to be overpaid. Overpaid is not the Patriot Way. So as they have done so many times in the past, they moved on a year to early rather than a year to late. If this move brought back equal value or best value is up for debate. Sure, there are other teams who also could have had use for Mr. Jones who had higher second round picks to offer, but did they also have a interior offensive lineman who happened to be three years removed from being taken in the top ten of his draft class? No. True, Jonathan Cooper has not lived up to the potential he showed in college or that of a top ten pick, but in New England, he doesn’t have too. This is a depth move – Cooper has experience playing on both sides of the line. Youngsters Tre’ Jackson and Shaq Mason are the future, but you can’t hang your hats on them. Cooper brings insurance and camp competition (something Bill loves) to the interior. Returning O-Line coach Dante Scarnecchia must have seen something in this underachieving young man that he thinks can be brought out or he wouldn’t have given a thumbs up to the move.


The other aspect of this first move allowed the rest of the week’s dominos to fall. Jones is gone and that allows Bill to again trade for a player of need – tight end, Martellus Bennett. Bennett is a big physical TE who brings to the table everything the Pats thought Scott Chandler would. He is also someone who can not only compliment Rob Gronkowski, but also step in for Gronk if he goes down AGAIN. Something that was sorely lacking in last year’s roster makeup,


With a lack of Mayo, another portion of this Patriots sub that was looking rather thin and dry (see what I did there) is the line-backing corp. Mayo’s injuries in recent years have now forced his early retirement. Bellichick countered this by signing another former first round pick in Shay McClellin. While McClellin didn’t live up to his first round status in Chicago, again here he doesn’t have to. All he needs to do is fit in behind The Wonder Twins – Hightower and Collins. While Mayo showed flashes of his former greatness last year, it was never sustained and once again he was cut down before the season ended. Bloody shame. But lets digress. McClellin will perform just as well as Mayo did, probably better.



With the cap space and hole created by the Jones and LaFell departures anther wide out was needed, enter Chris Hogan. An ehhh move, another depth move – but depth creates champions. LaFell fell out of favor last season, dropping far too many passes and was completely ignored in the playoffs. A turn around from his previous season, only time will tell if Hogan can gain the confidence of Tom Brady and become a part of his weaponry.


Finally, there is the man who will fill in for the first domino to fall. If it seems like a long time since the Rams drafted Chris Long you’d be correct. That player doesn’t exist anymore. But is Long a player who can go all out in this Pats rotation of defensive ends? Belichick thinks so and I wont judge it, at least not yet – but you know I will at some point.


Is this it? No it’s not.   More moves will be made. The draft is nearing and Bill will be dealing, teams needing to clear cap space will be cutting, and un-drafted talent will be out there for the plucking – all things that Bill lives for. This is only the beginning people so relax sit back and enjoy the show.



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