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Old 04-03-2019, 05:02 PM   #1
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Looking At The Patriots - 2020

Yeah, it's a little early but with $86,000,000 in cap space after the 2019 season, what is BB up to? This is by far the most BB has had here and I think it's worth thinking about.

Here's a snapshot look at the 2020 situation and the reaction/takes from league executives.
  • The Patriots have $85.877 million in cap space in 2020 — eighth-most in the league. But that’s with just 31 players under contract.
  • They have $75.677 million in what OverTheCap.com calls “effective cap space” — the maximum they’ll have by signing cheap contracts to get to the top 51 number.
  • Right now (and things can change depending on how 2018 and ’19 draft picks fare) they don’t have starters at: quarterback, both receiver spots, both tight end spots, left guard, nose tackle, right end, weakside linebacker, free safety, slot cornerback, kicker and punter.
  • Among Patriots free agents: Brady, Devin McCourty, Julian Edelman, Kyle Van Noy, Jonathan Jones, Josh Gordon, Joe Thuney and special team studs Matthew Slater, Brandon King, Nate Ebner and Ryan Allen.
  • Dont’a Hightower, Marcus Cannon and Michael Bennett (after his restructure pushed his cap number in ’20 to over $10 million when he’ll turn 35) could all be cap casualties if the Patriots really wanted to push their cap space. Other possible cap casualties: Duron Harmon, Patrick Chung and Jason McCourty.
  • The remaining team leaders would be, among others: Stephon Gilmore, Shaq Mason, David Andrews, Lawrence Guy, Harmon, Chung and Jason McCourty.
What does it all mean? The Patriots’ rivals — and even some inside their own building — are wondering the same thing. “I’ve been staring at this for a while and I don’t have a good bead on it,” said one AFC executive. “On one hand, they might just re-up a bunch of these guys for another go around, and that will eat up most of it. But on the other hand, if you were going to do a franchise reset, they’ve set themselves up to do that.”
Said an NFC executive: “Well, if you were Belichick and wanted to walk away by setting everything up for the next guy, whether that’s (Josh) McDaniels or someone else, this would be the way to do it. You can handpick your quarterback, you have a ton of cap space, draft picks and little dead weight. It’s a clean break. But is that the way Belichick would do it — almost sacrificing his final season?”
Perhaps another factor: Belichick’s heir apparent would be taking the reigns 20 years on the nose after Belichick’s first season in Foxborough. Is Belichick into nice, round numbers?
To figure out this puzzle, you have to start with at zero.
“The big question is, who’s playing quarterback for them in 2020? QBs cost a lot of money,” said another AFC exec.


We will likely get our answer when it comes to what the Patriots decide to do with Brady’s contract come August. Some think the team can do something now, but team sources have told BostonSportsJournal.com the Patriots can’t do anything until mid-August. That’s why there hasn’t been any movement on that front.
Will the team extend Brady, or will they just use the franchise tag (the $23.189 million QB tag for ’18 is less than Brady’s current cap number of $27 million)? To maximize the team’s cap space options, the tag might be the best route.
The team, sources told BSJ, has not ruled out the possibility that Brady could retire after this season, especially if he wins another Super Bowl. That would give him four in his final six seasons, and would trump the three he won his first four seasons as a starter. Seven total Super Bowl titles would break the franchise tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, leave Brady two titles clear of any other player, and would represent a largely unbreakable record.
Even if Brady was on the fence, the Patriots could hold Brady’s place with the franchise tag. If he retires during the summer, the cap space automatically opens back up and there is no dead money. If Brady plays on the tag, his cap number will still be less than it was for this season.
If the team signs Brady to an extension and he retires, there would likely be a healthy amount of dead money on the deal.


One option available to the Patriots, especially with that amount of cap space, is to bring the entire core back for another run. Below is a blunt look at what that would look like with extensions handed out to Kyle Van Noy and Joe Thuney. This would basically leave the Patriots with little cap space left over.

Keeping the core intact in 2020

PlayerPositionTeamAgeCurrent APY2020 cap hit?

Tom BradyQBPatriots43$20,500,000 $25,000,000
Devin McCourtySPatriots33$9,500,000 $10,000,000
Julian EdelmanWRPatriots34$5,500,000 $5,500,000
Kyle Van Noy43OLBPatriots29$5,375,000 $6,000,000
Jonathan JonesCBPatriots27$3,095,000 $6,000,000
Phillip DorsettWRPatriots27$2,600,000 $0
Brandon King43OLBPatriots27$2,600,000 $1,500,000
Matt SlaterWRPatriots35$2,500,000 $3,000,000
Nate EbnerSPatriots32$2,500,000 $3,000,000
Josh GordonWRPatriots29$2,025,000 $3,000,000
Brian HoyerQBPatriots35$1,605,000 $0
Ryan AllenPPatriots30$1,500,000 $2,000,000
Joe ThuneyLGPatriots28$803,357 $4,000,000

But at some point, all good things have to come to an end. Let’s say that the Patriots retain some of the players. Brady and Edelman could be a package deal, Van Noy and Thuney would be wise extensions if not overpriced, and King and Allen would make sense on special teams. That would have a price tag of about $44 million, leaving about $30 million to be played with — without any further cap cuts.


Can you imagine the Patriots adding the likes of Jadeveon Clowney/Whitney Mercilus, Emmanuel Sanders, Michael Thomas, Mike Daniels and/or Leonard Williams? If the Patriots needed a bridge quarterback, Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston could be available.
Of course, the Patriots have a bumper crop of picks the next two seasons thanks to their comp picks. If the ’18 draft class rebounds and it’s augmented by contributions from ’19 & '20, there might not be much of a need to hit free agency.


Let’s say that the Patriots win a seventh Super Bowl title and Brady realizes he has nothing left to accomplish and retires.
Now the possibilities really open up, starting with the head coach position. I have a hard time seeing Belichick leaving the same time as Brady. It’s possible he stays on and uses Brady’s retirement to make a clean reset and to set things up on a silver platter for McDaniels by picking the quarterback and using the draft to restock the team — with a ton of cap space and draft capital to work with.
Or, Belichick could leave as well and let McDaniels sink or swim on his own with Nick Caserio as his personnel guy.
Whoever is in charge, they would have the choice to trim another $27 million in payroll by releasing or trading the likes of Bennett, Hightower, Cannon, Harmon, Jason McCourty and Chung.
That would leave them with basically an entire roster to replenish: QB, WR, WR, TE, LG, RT on offense; DE, DE, NT, WLB, SLB, FS, SS, slot CB.
In that case, a tanking year in 2020 would be on the table for the 2021 draft.

The prize? Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Tanking for Lawrence, is way out there, we readily admit that. But the reality is this franchise is on course for a possible reset after this season — and it coincides with the possible end for Brady and/or Belichick.
The Patriots are on a path to have the most cap space they’ve ever had, and could clear more. They have a ton of draft capital accumulating. They have made little effort, to this point, to secure any of the future starting spots that could be up for grabs in 2020, which is unlike them — they normally give themselves plenty of options one or more years down the road.
The Patriots may still be on to 2019. But everyone should have an eye on 2020.



Holy shit, Batman!

First of all, tanking all the way down to the worst record in the league just doesn’t seem realistic if any core group of the current coaching staff & players are here, even without Brady & Belichick. I also don't think both will retire in the same year - I simply don't either 1 would do that to the club. I don't know what's going on in the minds of BB, Caserio, Kraft or Brady for future plans. BUT, my tinfoil hat is certainly not on for speculating about a "nuclear" option. I don't think that is even worth considering.

However, and I've thought this for a while, there may be a plan forming to try to package picks for a QB in 2020. With Tua, Fromm, Herbert and others out there next year, the Pats could package any and all of next year’s 1, 2, three 3’s and a 2021 1st to get up there if desired. If they swap our 32nd pick or a high day 2 pick this year for a higher pick next year, that could be a tip-off as could Brady's extension in August.

But if they can nail a few of these top 2019 picks and Bentley/Wynn/Dawson come back strong, it could give them the roster freedom to package whatever it takes in 2020 to draft a QB. Isn't that what we're thinking anyway?

Anyway, pushing that much cap into 1 year as they've done is probably not an accident. Why they did it is a legitimate question to ponder. For me the best & most logical answer is that BB is retiring and he's leaving a gift to whomever follows to do things their way. What do you think?
A coach is like a carpenter & the players are his tools. A master carpenter knows exactly how to make the most of any tool he has.
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Old 04-03-2019, 07:39 PM   #2
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Holy shit, Batman!

Yeah, it's Bedard. He makes me say that all the time.
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Old 04-04-2019, 07:24 AM   #3
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I've been keeping an eye on the 2020 cap situation for a while. I don't think it is very dramatic. We have a lot of cap room and a lot of free agents who should be given new contracts or be replaced.

I'm not buying the cleaning house theory. What would be the use of having a shit load of cap space? It's not like we are going to go all in and sign several big contract players anyways. It's not how we roll.

I've been waiting for a Van Noy extension for a while, and still am. I think it will come before the season starts. It's just a very typical BB move.

I can see a contract comming for Thuney also if BB values him highly enough. Either extended now or he will be gone after the season.

Maybe Brady and Edelman will be taken care of i 2019, but there is no urgency as it will take care of itself in 2020 if we wait. They aren't going anywhere if we still want them to stay next summer.

The rest on that list are valuable players, but very replaceable.

If Brady is still hot, the 2020 off season should be fun.
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