Patriots: 3 potential cap casualties NE can target this offseason
By Adam Weinrib
1. Preston Smith, EDGE, Packers
Preston Smith could be among the fortuitous cuts for the Patriots.
Keep Aaron Rodgers or maintain his full defense.
It’s your choice, Packers cap specialists! Best of luck!
If Green Bay doubles down on Preston Smith, that makes it more likely that perhaps the Pats can eventually finagle a Rodgers deal. That’s still pure fantasy at the moment, though, so why don’t we attempt to poach their pass rush instead?
Smith, along with his “brother” Za’Darius, have been wrecking offensive lines with the Packers for the past two seasons in tandem. Drafted in the second round by Washington back in 2015, Pats backers had his fit in New England mapped out all the way back then. As they saw it, he brought Chandler Jones-style athleticism to Bill Belichick’s system, and could’ve played OLB in a 3-4 defense, with the potential to move around.
Now, Smith’s cap hit of $16 million is dangerous in 2021, and that escalation is a main reason the Packers might have to wave goodbye to half of their two-headed pass-rushing monster (both men are 28 years old; told you, this is tough).
The question remains: how “flush” is flush enough for New England to go shopping in the expensive aisle here with Smith? This Patriots team has to wake up its rush somehow, and money burning a hole in Belichick’s pocket doesn’t do anyone any good — especially this offseason, with a complex mission of rejuvenating the Pats’ contender status ahead of him.
If Green Bay makes the exceedingly difficult call to slice Smith here, don’t be shocked if New England is next in line.