The Patriots just finished up winning their Sixth Super Bowl. After seeing Brady, Edleman, and Belichick embracing and talking about still being here, and the post-game comments from Robert and Jonathan Kraft that were giddy but edged, it all adds up to one thing: The Patriots have unfinished business. What else do they need to accomplish? They are being compared to the greatest dynasties in all sports. Brady arguments are starting with Jordan and Russell, not Montana and Starr.
This team once finished a season 18-1. That nasty taste in the back of all Patriots fans throats is still there. The Patriots have very few goals left to achieve. Let’s look at what might very well be in store for the 2019 off-season.
It Starts With Motivation
The Patriots 13-3 win was by the biggest margin in their Super Bowl history. But according to most outlets, this was a boring Super Bowl. No buzz. More an indictment on the Rams and Sean McVay than a Patriots win. Sure, there’s the occasional 2/3rds of the Ringer football staff, or Greg Bedard, who champion this team’s accomplishments. But this is a taste of what you get when you search ‘Patriots boring’ into google:
Don’t think for a minute Coach Belichick hasn’t noticed. We just saw what happens when Belichick regains control of the team and uses motivation to maximum effect.
Again, the Patriots just pulled into a tie with the Steelers for all time Super Bowl wins. Tom Brady stands alone as the player with the most Super Bowl rings. Coach Belichick can do things like this:
Freddy Mitchell, a part time player, was used as motivation against the Eagles in Super Bowl 39. What do we think a national movement belittling this Super Bowl can do?
Salary Cap & Draft Capital
The NFL salary cap can be convoluted. But the bottom line is the Patriots currently have around $18 Million in cap space. Between potential retirements and restructurings that number could grow to around $50 Million or more. That’s enough cheddar to do some serious damage.
As far as draft picks, the Patriots have 5 in the first four rounds. When have they ever used all their draft picks? Now they have an extra upper round pick to parry with.
All this adds up to a lot of possibilities.
What are the kind of players we could be talking about? Randy Moss was traded for a 4th round pick in 2007. Aqib Talib was traded for a 4th round pick in 2012. Brandin Cooks was traded for first and third round picks in 2017.
There is a certain Steeler wide out who has just requested a trade. Yes, Antonio Brown, probably the best wide receiver in the NFL, is not outwardly Patriot material. He put the post-game locker room on Facebook live. He doesn’t show up for work at times. Brown also just missed a court date, so is now a convicted reckless driver.
The Steelers will have to be desperate to trade Brown to the Patriots, but his radioactivity might make it possible. With him missing the final game of the season, and now a reckless driving conviction in Pennsylvania, the price could be coming down from 1st round pick territory. Brown is owed a lot of money, around $12 to $13 Million a year for the next three years. But his contract isn’t guaranteed. It’s easy to see a reworked one or two year deal, a la Darrelle Revis in 2014. It’s also easy to see a hardworking, nose to the grindstone Antonio Brown looking to rebuild his value.
Brown on his own wouldn’t be enough. Belichick is always ready to praise the opposition. He just saw the Rams defense do a great job against Brady and Co. Someone like linebacker Donte Fowler, Jr., who is a free agent, would look great next to Dont’a Hightower in the Patriots defense.
Re-signings to look for
A push for an undefeated season would include convincing Gronk to go for it one more year as well. Why go through the pain and hard work? The same reason Belichick and Brady are still doing it. To achieve the unattainable, the immortal.
And of course this would include bringing back Trey Flowers. As stated above, there is room on the Patriots cap, with some massaging, for a few big moves.
The Patriots have the motivation and ability to go all in for an undefeated season in 2019. Let’s put those ’72 Dolphins out to pasture, we want our own insufferable undefeated toasts every year.