Much has been made of the fact that Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback of this generation, took a pay cut that will save the New England Patriots about $15 million in the next two seasons. This money, presumably, is intended to be used to surround Brady with enough talent to allow the 35-year old to keep the team at a Super Bowl level. Now that the money is free, what is the next step?
For the first time in seven years, the Patriots declined to use their franchise tag on any of their star free agents. That means that there is no guarantee that Wes Welker, Sebastian Vollmer and Aqib Talib will be back since they will hit the open market. The Patriots are looking to use the money they now have to entice them back though.
Vollmer perhaps is the most important piece to bring back, simply because he excels at protecting Brady in the pocket. The Patriots did just invest a lot of money into their quarterback, so it makes sense to do whatever possible to keep him in New England. Fantasy Football players and fans alike would be more comfortable with him signed up for next season.
Welker is also important, especially when it comes continuity and familiarity. Brady and Welker have been connecting on passes for years, and having him as an option on offense is just fitting Finally, Aqib Talib has emerged as their best secondary player. It the Patriots are going to continue to make Super Bowl runs, they have to make sure that the defense still is solid enough to keep them in games. Brady can’t be relied on to make play after play each night to simply outscore opponents.
With so many talented players under contract in New England, money is always going to be somewhat tight. Thanks to Brady giving the Patriots a hometown discount, they should be able to at least give themselves a great chance of resigning all three of these players, plus other free agents to fill in the gaps.
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