Patriots Blog

How the Patriots could’ve kept Brady, Jimmy G, Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins while signing Drew Brees

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — In a season characterized entirely by tensions over Alex Guerrero and the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, the sad shame is that the New England Patriots easily could’ve solved the latter of those problems if they understood basic math.
If they had even a rudimentary understanding of numbers and how they work, the Pats also could have avoided two more of the worst transactions in team history — the Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins trades). It’s all really quite simple if you think about it for more than two seconds, something Bill “The GM” Belichick clearly never bothered to do.
How could the Patriots have kept Brady, Garoppolo, Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins? Well, it’s worth noting a key piece of information the Patriots seem to have overlooked: The salary cap has been going up every year. Next year, it will rise to $178 million, which is a LOT of money and even more than last year’s cap. Given that New England is likely to roll over $3 million in unused funds from the 2017 cap, that gives us a total figure of more than $181 million.
Now, let’s use preschool-level math skills to resolve the entirely not complicated NFL salary cap.
What the Patriots just have to do is just clear a bit of space. Here, I’ll gladly do the work for them. Just cut the following players: Devin McCourty, Julian Edelman, Duron Harmon, Lawrence Guy, Stephen Gostkowski, David Andrews, Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Shea McClellin, Patrick Chung, David Harris, Derek Rivers, Antonio Garcia, Cyrus Jones, Ryan Allen, Deatrich Wise, Joe Thuney, Vincent Valentine, Malcolm Mitchell, Jordan Richards, James Develin, Trey Flowers, Shaq Mason, Elandon Roberts, Joe Cardona, Harvey Langi, Jacob Hollister, Cole Croston, Jonathan Jones, Adam Butler, Andrew Jelks, Brandin Cooks, Martellus Bennett, Dwayne Allen, Chris Hogan, Mike Gillislee, Keionta Davis, Kenny Britt, Eric Rowe, Nicholas Grigsby, Eric Lee and Phillip Dorsett.
This works, as none of those players are Brady, Garoppolo, Jones or Collins, a.k.a., The Untouchables. It also gives us a cap savings of about $63.7 million. You’re welcome. As a result of the savings, the Pats have $33 million in “dead” cap space, proving you have to spend money to make money.
Unfortunately, we can’t cut a handful of other players, because doing so would actually cost the Patriots cap space in 2018. In these cases, the dead cap hit is greater than the cost of just paying these players to play football. OK, fine we’ll let these guys play football, giving us what I have decided to think of as a sweet discount:  Stephon Gilmore, Rob Gronkowski, Dont’a Hightower, Marcus Cannon, Kyle Van Noy, James White and Brian Hoyer.  So, they get to stay. If we don’t resign any of the Patriots’ 15 unrestricted free agents (like Nate Solder, Dion Lewis, Matthew Slater or Malcolm Butler), then we have spent only $95.3 million. That leaves us nearly $86 million to spend. Let’s get to the good part.
Hit Garoppolo with an estimated quarterback franchise tag of $23.55. Jones is slated to make $15.55 million next year, and Collins is due $12.4 million. We now have a roster with Brady, Garoppolo, Jones and Collins and guess what, dummies? WE STILL HAVE $34 MILLION TO SPEND!
So, here’s the move your “Mega-genius” Bill the GM never saw coming: Drew Brees is a free agent. Boom. Let’s pencil another future Hall of Fame passer in for $27 million. Why Brees? Why not? Why settle for two franchise quarterbacks when you can have three? Because the game is all about stockpiling franchise quarterbacks and defensive players whose names you already know. Obviously.
Dave Brown is a freelance correspondent who covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatDaveBrown