Patriots’ list of roster cuts will be quickly plundered by other teams
The New England Patriots began the difficult process of trimming down their roster on Friday – much to the benefit of the other 31 NFL teams.
There might only be two officially pirate-themed franchises in the NFL – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders – but when it comes to the New England Patriots during the months of March and August, suddenly every other team in the NFL starts displaying some inner scavenger tendencies.
Roster turnover is the norm in a league that’s constantly shuffling through talent, but for Super Bowl champions, that turnover is accentuated to an even greater degree. As soon as the calendar flips from February to March, any holdovers left on a championship-winning squad know that their time has come to cash in if they’re a free agent or on a soon-to-be-expiring deal.
That’s the benefit of having played an extra three games past the regular season finale… and the benefit of having so many extra eyes on you during the playoffs.
And so it’s no wonder that Super Bowl champions are plundered the most dramatically and thoroughly come free agency in March. The Patriots are no different than any other team in that regard; and yet they are extremely different at the same time, simply because they’re the Patriots.
Players coming from the Bill Belichick system are assumed to be all the better because of it. Just look at new Raiders right tackle Trent Brown, who was considered barely a notch above a draft bust when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. All he did was spend one season with the Patriots under Belichick and offensive line guru Dante Scarnecchia, and suddenly he’s the highest-paid offensive lineman in the league.
That’s the real-time benefit of coming from the New England machine.
This is not to say that Brown is unworthy of cashing in the way he did. After all, he still had to execute his blocks, perform his technique, and keep Tom Brady upright. He was the one battling some of the league’s most ferocious edge rushers for 19 games, so he deserves to be compensated for helping Brady help the Patriots to the promised land once again.
That said, most rational minds outside of Oakland, California, will agree that the Raiders probably overpaid for Brown. And no one would be the least bit surprised if Brown ended up struggling this season, now that he’s far away from the cozy confines of Foxborough.
With a team like the Patriots, there’s also a second time of the calendar year that the roster gets ravaged – only this time it’s a little bit more palatable for New England fans. That time is now, right between the end of the preseason and the beginning of the regular season.
Now is the time when all 32 NFL teams are scrambling to whittle down their rosters to the very best possible incarnations – at least on paper and in theory. The Patriots are in no different a predicament, and have already begun making trades and transactions left and right at various positions in an effort to get under the 53-man limit.
As the old saying goes: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Such will inevitably be the case with New England this season, especially considering how ridiculously deep the Patriots are at a number of positions, such as cornerback, linebacker, receiver, and defensive lineman.
In the coming days, expect every other team in the league to sift through the Patriots’ scrap pile of discarded players with a fervor unparalleled to the way they look through other teams’ disposables. It’s a testament to the culture and dominance of the Patriot Way that Belichick has built these two last decades: New England is in the favorable position of having too many good players on their roster, and the ones they can’t keep, other teams will greedily – if not exactly gratefully – gobble up.