The Patriots signed Brandon Browner to a 3 year, $17 million deal after the Ian Rapoport – Adam Schefter pissing match that you can read all about all over the internet. (Seems like Rapoport was at least mostly correct and that Browner’s agent has some explaining to do about why he was unaware of the agreements his own client was making on the 3rd day of free agency. Also Rapoport basically said “Tell me how my ass tastes” after the deal was official.) The Pats’ secondary now consists of Revis, Browner, Dennard, Ryan (these guys are definitely above average for 3rd and 4th cornerbacks), Arrington (might play exclusively in nickel this year), McCourtey, Duron Harmon, and Tavon Wilson. That now looks like a really good secondary once Browner’s 4 game suspension ends, especially if the Pats spend a high draft pick on a safety or sign a good safety still left on the market (unlikely).
Wilfork is almost definitely gone, which is too bad. Tommy Kelly is back, and played very well before his injury last year. But that’s the thing — he’s 33 and coming off of a torn ACL. The Pats have also unsurprisingly lost Brandon Spikes, so their run defense has taken a big hit this offseason. Now, there’s still options, from the draft to what’s left in free agency, combined with the fact that pass defense is more important nowadays. But I’d like to see the Pats do something else.
Whether or not they do something else will probably hinge upon how much cap space the Patriots have left. Before the Revis signing, the NFLPA reported that it was just under $17 million. Revis counts for $7M this year (God, Belichick is such an amazing accountant), and Browner signed for a cap hit of probably about $4.5M this year, given his suspension. (That’s a guess by me.) Take into effect Wilfork eventually getting cut, and that’s about $13.5M left. Seems like a decent amount of change, no?
And maybe that’s why Edelman and the Pats are talking again, according to Rapoport. His visit with the 49ers didn’t bring a contract, and, as many have stated in the past 24-36 hours, the Pats didn’t show significant interest in bringing back Edelman last year until the Giants showed interest in him. With roughly $13.5M left, if my math is right, I wouldn’t mind spending about $5 of it towards Julian Edelman. It might be even less than that, as we can only hope.
If Dobson, Thomkins, and Boyce are back, and then if there’s Edelman and however many combined games the Pats get from Gronk and Amendola, I love that offense. Still would like to have LeGarrette Blount back, but there might just not be enough carries for everyone. (Then again, it’s not like Stevan Ridley is in a position to complain about reps. Hold onto the damn ball, bro.) I’d like that offense, and I obviously like the 2014 defense more than the 2013 defense. Oh yeah, and the Pats will have a 3rd rounder as compensation for Talib leaving.
So let’s hope that part of the remaining cap space goes to Edelman, and let’s hope that Belichick shores up the run defense and maybe pass defense a little more with undervalued guys in free agency or high draft picks. Either way, at this point, it’s not like we can question The Hooded One.