With Free Agency only weeks away, our teams will be implementing step one of the yearly replenishing process. Many players are re-signed, many are happily escorted out of the building, never to come back. This is the time of year when one team’s garbage becomes another’s prize. Free agency is certainly not how you build a team for long lasting supremacy, but it is a necessary evil that helps the so important balance of experience meshed with youth.
We looked at the Bills and Dolphins, this week we explore the Patriots and Jets.
New England Patriots
The Patriots seem to have the same amount of CAP space every year, not much, not little, just enough to get by. Belichick the GM does a good job in this area.
Jerod Mayo has announced his retirement, which is good for CAP room, but not good, because if not for injuries, Mayo was a reliable ILB. I would imagine Brandon LaFell’s days are also numbered, he really was useless down the stretch and in the playoffs. Marcus Cannon is another candidate to say goodby.
It is imperative to sign and draft help at OL. Patriots OL is old, banged up and a shell of what we are used to. My guess is Belichick the GM will draft someone and sign 150 bodies that can play OL, out of which, Belichick the HC will instruct Belichick the OL coach, to choose a few that can help, cheaply.
There has been talk of Matt Forte among the fanbase, but lets face it, with that little CAP room, that would be a luxury that makes little sense. Re-sign Blount, cheap, and use him as the bruiser with Dion Lewis as the finesse, third-down, pass catching RB. If you cannot get Blount, and can get Ivory cheap, I would go Ivory before I would go big money on Forte. I can also see Ahmad Bradshaw remaking himself as this season’s RB du jour in New England.
New York Jets
Jets have begun the expected house cleaning by releasing Antonio Cromartie. Antonio did not have a good season, his hip pains showed by his lack of mobility, and no way is he worth 8M. The Jets will not need to sign a replacement, that is the good news, because there are in-house players ready to step up. I expect Jeremy Kerley and Jeff Cumberland to also be released. Kerley can be designated as a June 1 cut, saving an extra 1M.
Muhammed Wilkerson, Damon Snacks Harrison, Chris Ivory, and Ryan Fitzpatrick are all free to sign elsewhere, or almost. Wilkerson will not be allowed to walk away free and clear, and I suspect neither will Harrison. MO has been a good soldier and a strong player, but like many players often say, this is a business. The Jets cannot simply break the bank for one player on the DL that has so much talent. I actually believe that Snacks is even more important to sign than Wilkerson. Harrison is the run stopper.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will re-sign, it makes sense for both sides, especially at this stage in Fitz’s career. The only question remains at what price? My guess is a three year deal worth about 23M, with 10M Bonus. The team may even choose to add a 4th year, just to keep the CAP number down for this season.
I like what Maccagnan has done in one year, now we need to see if he can repeat that performance. Jets will renegotiate wit Ferguson, freeing up some more money, and in the end, unless Wilkerson signs a deal, he will get tagged and traded.