Right after I wrote that the Bruins’ biggest mistake over the years has been hedging their bets when making transactions, Bill Belichick proved why he’s the best by going 100% in one direction. It wouldn’t make much sense to release just LaFell or Chandler, a suggestion that I’ve seen recently among Boston sports fans and media. You either keep them both or release them both. Belichick decided on the latter.
I wouldn’t have minded if BB had kept both Chandler and Jojo, because they’re both capable wide receivers who wouldn’t have cost the Pats that much for the 2016 season. The difference between keeping and cutting LaFell was $2.6 million, although it’s really about $3.1 million for the 2016 season because the Pats can designate him as a post June 1 release, cutting in half his dead cap number and spreading it out over 2016 and 2017. For Chandler, that number was $2 million and $2.5M in 2016 with the post June 1 trick.
The Patriots just boosted their cap space number up to about $18 million, which is huge for the extensions that they want to offer to Hightower, Jones, Collins, Butler, and maybe Ryan. The extensions for Collins, Butler, and Ryan would increase their cap hits, and the Pats still need money left over for their draft picks and free agent signings, which is why BB decided to move on from 19 and 88.
If Belichick had decided that they were worth the extra money, then I’d be ok with it. LaFell could easily return to 2014 form, and I could see Chander being worth just $2 million if he made a few more catches, few more few blocks, and a few less drops. Since Belichick cut them, though, it’s clear that he decided that he could get 75% of the players for 25% of the cost. That’s the mentality that has made Belichick the greatest team builder of all time, and that’s the reason that they’re contending year after year with the youngest roster in the league despite having a soon to be 39 year old quarterback. I look forward to the sleeper tight end that Belichick drafts in the 4th round and the free agent wide receiver that he picks up in 2 weeks.