If Bill Belicheck, the mastermind trader, didn’t whip out a special and sensual week of offseason moves, maybe I would have written a creative piece that shows you readers how sophisticated of a writer I can be. Alas, I’m not going to do that. Not this week. Beause I’m way too turned on by the offseason moves our sexy leader, Bill Belicheck, has been piecing together. Let’s do some play-by-play analysis on the big moves.
As mentioned earlier this week by our wonderful Brian Brigham, Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for Guard Jonathan Cooper and a 2nd round draft pick, 60th overall. If you thought Chandler Jones was staying on this team in two years time, you’re a clown: I’m saying it now. Jones is a hell of a pass rusher, but a serviceable pass rusher is probably the easiest thing to replace. Seriously, think of how many kick-ass pass rushers there are each year in college, it’s not harder to find a couple guys who can rotate and split plays and do a good job rushing. As much as I loved Chandler’s energy and passion for playing, let’s be real. He would’ve commanded a ton of money next year on a contract year (see Olivier Vernon for proof) for a position that’s very replaceable, and Chandler had a way of disappearing in games. Look at his stats this year, a strong first half of the season, and then he disappears. In the end, this only helps us lock our defensive anchors down on long-term deals (Hightower, Collins, Butler). If you want to read more, check out Brian’s post from this past week. I have more to talk about.
Right after the Chandler Jones trade, the Patriots signed defensive end Chris Long for a 1 year, 2 million dollar contract. See what I mean when I mention how replaceable a pass rusher can be? Long was a stud a few years back for the Rams, but has missed a step the past few years, and just hit 30. Regardless of his play, I love this signing. Long was a class act on the field, around the town of St. Louis, and in the locker room. He signed a one-year deal in the hopes of getting to the big game, and I think he could play well enough to take us there. At the most, I expect Long to be a sweet rotational piece and a great source of veteran leadership.
Stop me when this next move sounds familiar. The New England Patriots sign a short white wide receiver that plays the slot position. Heard this one before? Chris Hogan, ex Bills receiver, appeared to me to be just the type of guy Bill Belicheck looks to sign. When playing against him last year, he played us great. His contract is front-loaded, so he’s making the bulk of his cash this coming year, giving us the opportunity to sign those defensive studs I mentioned above. All in all, this should be some good depth in the wide receiver corps for Tom Brady.
The Patriots very recently got a stud player from the Bears. One that I think could help set us above the pack this year. Yeah, I’m talking about Bears linebacker, Shea McClellin. Obviously the least exciting signing here, McClellin was a joke on the Bears the past few years. But Belicheck gave him a three-year deal, so I think we could see something special here. Really, I do. The past few years, Belicheck has scooped up some young players and made them a solid rotational piece on the defensive side of the ball, and honestly, I’m just hoping he turns out to be decent for us.
The final piece I’d like to talk about is the trade for Bears tight end, Martellus Bennett. Easily a top 5 tight end in the league, Bennett is a stud in all facets of the game. Ex-Bears offensive coordinator and new Dolphins head coach Adam Gase once said that Bennett was such an elite blocker, it’s like having a third tackle on the line. If that doesn’t get you going after this past year (I’m talking about AFC Championship Game flashbacks, R.I.P. Brady), I don’t know what will. Not only is he a stud blocker, he’s a stud receiver. Bennett had the second best Yards After Catch in 2014 as a tight end, only behind our own Rob Gronkowski. Seriously everyone, the Boston TE Party is back, and the only thing that can stop us is a couple murder charges (assuming Belicheck did a background check this time)! Bennett wanted out of Chicago because he wanted more money, and although this is a one-year deal for now, maybe Martellus will like the taste of winning enough to stick around.
Finally, I just want to note that there’s an even sweeter punch after all of this. Although Roger Goodell took our draft picks, we went out and got some more. The Patriots now have two second round draft picks, back to back, and they have five picks in the 6th round. Think about it everyone; we could draft five Tom Brady’s this year. Time to get excited.