Since the start of free agency this past Tuesday, the AFC East has quickly become one of the tougher divisions in all of football after being relatively mediocre over the last few seasons. Ndamukong Suh going to Miami, LeSean McCoy to Buffalo, and the return of Darrelle Revis to the Jets all seem to have some New England Patriot fans going into full panic mode. There hasn’t been an AFC East this strong in years and what is the Patriots front office doing about it? Nothing! All the Pats have done so far is let stars Darrelle Revis, Vince Wilfork, Shane Vereen, and Brandon Browner gracefully leave the team. They are doomed. The Pats are ruining their team! “They’d be lucky to be .500”, I heard a family friend say.
New England Patriot fans thinking this way need to listen to the wise words of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers: “R-E-L-A-X. Relax“
Maybe these fans have just jumped on the bandwagon post-Super Bowl, or maybe they have amnesia. What about when the Patriots cut Lawyer Milloy? Ty Law? Mike Vrabel? Adam Vinatieri? Wes Welker? Asante Samuel? Traded Richard Seymour? The list goes on for days. This is the Belichick system. This is the Patriot way. Cutting Lawyer Milloy on September 2nd, 2003 was the biggest head-scratcher I’ve ever witnessed. He was 29 years old, in the prime of his career, and the center of the Patriots’ defense; but Belichick let him go. What happened after that? The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl that very season. So what is making these Pats fans doubt their head coach and GM now?
There is no reason for Patriot fans to panic in any way shape or form. Belichick has never made a splash in the first few days of free agency nor in the first round of the NFL Draft. That’s just not his style. And, correct me if I’m wrong, I think he’s done just fine to this point in his coaching career.
Everyone knew coming into this season Belichick wasn’t going to pick up Revis’ $20 million option. Throw the Jets’ lucrative offer into the equation and there’s no way Revis returns to New England. The Jets are now paying a 30-year-old corner $39 million guaranteed. Putting that kind of money towards one player is not the Belichick system. Sure it would have been nice to bring back Browner but I’m not convinced he’s worth the money the Saints will be giving him either. Browner is great with a counterpart like Revis. Before Revis he had Sherman, and before he had Sherman he was a non-factor.
Yes the AFC East is improving. But is Miami giving one player a $114 million dollar contract an improvement? Is the Jets bringing back their former two cornerbacks (who are now three years older) on lucrative front-loaded contracts an improvement? These seem like some pretty questionable front office decisions in my opinion. Of course these teams will be better off this season than they were last; but if I’m a supporter of either squad, I’m a little concerned for five years from now and still concerned about playing Tom Brady.
The Patriots plan long-term more than any other team and always have. If Brady and Bill Belichick are steering the ship, I cannot find a single reason to have any concern. The rest of the AFC East is making springtime front page news and definitely stirring the pot. However I remain pretty convinced that the Pats will be the AFC East team making the front page headlines once again come winter time.
So Patriot fans, sit back and relax. Let the mastermind run his offseason scheme just as he has for the last ten years and everything will be just fine.