Pick Up or Pack Up? Sorting through the Patriots’ Free Agents

Posted: February 17, 2012 by mzyohai in NFL, Opinion, Patriots
Tags: , , , , , ,

So the football season has come to an end. For both of us. Tragically for each of our respective teams, only a month apart. Now we have less than a month until free agency opens up. The Patriots are $20 million under the salary cap coming into the 2012 season… but that’s mostly because they have 20 players entering free agency. Considering that the Patriots had 18 undrafted free-agents playing on their Super Bowl team, this might be an interesting situation for them to see who they go after and what kind of team they want to put together.

But let’s take the departures first and examine who the Pats will pick up and who they will tell to pack up:

Wide-outs

Wes Welker (WR)

Mike: Usually, the best way to keep your job isn’t to fuck up completely the day before your review. In the case of Welker, one of the top-five receivers in the league, you can actually do that. How about: Don’t drop it!

Nick: The Patriots can’t afford to strand Danny Woodhead on an island as the only short white dude on the team. They have to bring Welker back for that primarily, but his 100+ catches four of the last five seasons doesn’t hurt. Pick him up. PLEASE.

Deion Branch (WR)

Mike: If he comes back, I would imagine the Pats might have him do some special teams work to make him worth the money.Otherwise, there’s always Randy Moss… pick up.

Nick: Only in a limited role for limited money. He’s a good security blanket for Brady, but all blankets get a little threadbare at some point. Even ones with sweet dreads. Bring back, I guess.

Matthew Slater (WR)

Mike: I’m a Jets fan and I don’t hate this guy. That’s not a good thing to put on your resume as a Patriot. Dump him.

Nick: Provided they don’t try to use their All-Pro special teams captain as a wide receiver running a deep route on a crucial possession in the fourth quarter of an AFC Championship game, pick him up.

Backs

Brian Hoyer (QB – restricted)

Mike: Are the Pats playing the Ravens next year? No? Then Brady is safe and they can find a scrubier scrub. Pack it in.

Nick: They have to sign someone to put up some sweet preseason stats, don’t they? Re-sign.

Kevin Faulk (RB)

Mike: He’s probably retiring. But the Patriots paid him even though he played like he retired last year. If they’re still following that logic, pick him up. (No, don’t.)

Nick: If the Patriots resign the 36-year-old to another contract after putting him on the inactive list for the Super Bowl, his last name will officially replace the F-word in my vocabulary of curse words. Conveniently, they are phonetically identical. So yeah, Faulk that.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB)

Mike: Here’s your choice, sign the Law Firm or sign the rest of the these free agents. Might as well let a team that actual runs the ball use him – oh herrrrro, Chiefs. Gone!

Nick: With no fumbles in his entire career, I’ll always defend the Law Firm. But I don’t think New England’s greatest nickname will be around next year with Ridley, Vereen, and Woodhead coming back. With very little hope, the defense rests.

Line

Dan Koppen (C)

Mike: Tom Brady didn’t have a problem taking snaps from his replacement this year. There’s no way Belichick is spending money when he doesn’t have to. See ya.

Nick: He was injured in Week 1 and didn’t play another snap, but he was also on the Patriots All-Decade team for the 2000s. Sooooo, I have no idea. Send him packing, I suppose.

Dan Connolly (OL)

Mike: Brady doesn’t move. This back-up started in 15 games and Brady didn’t have a record number of sacks. That’s gotta be worth something. Put him in, Coach.

Nick: He filled in ably once Koppen went down, so my guess is that they bring him back and not Koppen. Connolly really directed that offensive line to give Brady solid pass protection and got some good push in the running game.

Okay, I just made up that part about what he contributed this season ($200,000 to learn how to bullshit – money well spent!) and regurgitated what James Walker said about the center position. So sue me. Do you really expect me to know anything about offensive linemen? Their only stat is pancakes, which is a reference to their pre-game meal as far as I’m concerned.

Front Seven:

Mark Anderson (DE)

Mike: Hey! It’s a Patriots defensive player I recognize! Sign him.

Nick: Anderson had his best season since his 2006 rookie campaign, and he’s only 28. Why not?

Andre Carter (DE)

Mike: This guy really wrecked some QBs. But it was all Wilfork down the stretch. It will always be Wilfork when the Pats really need defense. Sorry, bud, you were just part of the changing scenery.

Nick: No, thank y0u. Take your reconstructed quad elsewhere, please. But thanks for all those sacks!

Shaun Ellis (DE)

Mike: How does confetti feel Shaun? Traitor!

Nick: I would only bring him back to spite Jets fans for one more year. Otherwise, pack your bags, Shaun.

Kyle Love (DL)

Mike: He was born in South Korea? That’s awesome. I might actually like him. Not love. Not even like-like. But he deserves a contract.

Nick: Love Love. Gotta bring that big boy back.

Gerard Warren (DL)

Mike: This guy’s problem is that he doesn’t tackle ball-carriers. Nah.

Nick: Seeing as I never heard his name announced for anything noteworthy during the season, how about no?

Gary Guyton (LB)

Mike: He’s pretty good. I also like his dreads way more than Branch’s. Keep him around.

Nick: Sounds like a posh British name (at least when you say it that way, shockingly). Too alliterative. Pack it up, GG.

Niko Koutouvides (LB)

Mike: I wish the NFL had local announcers just to hear a New Englander try to pronounce such a non-Anglo name. But they don’t. See ya.

Nick: Being the token Greek guy on the roster has to count for something, right? Sure!

Tracy White (LB)

Mike: Who?

Nick: His name is too boring and Caucasian sounding. It reminds me of myself, and I would be terrible at tackling people. White is guilty by association. Nope.

Secondary:

James Ihedigbo (S)

Mike: Former Jet? Whatever.

Nick: I guess. But don’t ask me to be excited about it.

Nate Jones (DB)

Mike: Wow! People are actually considering paying the Patriots’ secondary more money? #worstdefenseinhistory

Nick: Yeah, I would love to go out of my way to bring back one of our nameless, faceless cornerbacks to another contract. Sign me up.

Antwuan Molden (CB – restricted)

Mike: Right, because if he were unrestricted, he would be receiving offers from all over the place. Cool name, but no.

Nick: See above. And every instance this season when the Patriots secondary got burned. Which was constantly. Get ’em outta he-ah.

Bret Lockett (S – restricted)

Mike: I repeat, who?

Nick: Sorry, Bret with one “t” (whoever you are), but I don’t think so.

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