New England Patriots: Planning Prevents Poor Performance
With the re-signing of Dont’a Hightower, the New England Patriots are on course to be assembling the strongest all around team of this century. The reason behind the assemblage has brought some to question if this is Tom Brady and Belichick’s last hooray. While it may seem so, with the acquisition of such high priced players like Stephon Gilmore, and Brandin Cooks (from a draft capital standpoint); the route the Patriots are taking is not the result of the last grasp for a title.
This route is one that is the result of an advantageous GM who for years structured team friendly contracts that allowed for the Patriots to move on from a player with little future cap impacts. Decisions like these have cumulative effects. The near two decades of smart fiscal management have resulted in a year where the Patriots can take advantage of a hot free agent market, which just so happens to included one of their own players (needless to say, huge advantage).
Moreover, the Patriots not only held one of the top free agents (Hightower), but the highest valued restricted free agent (Malcolm Butler), and the most valued trade piece (Jimmy Garoppolo). In addition to all of this, they came into the year with a healthy amount of cap, and some new jewelry. This offseason is a perfect storm for the Patriots. The have the money, the leverage, and the winning program; this combination is a rarity to say the least. Most Super Bowl teams have to expense an immense amount of resources to be in a position to win the Super Bowl. The Tampa Buccaneers and, more recently, the Carolina Panthers are teams that expended everything to take a shot at winning the Lombardi.
If there is any more evidence that winning the Super Bowl requires an immense resource drain, especially in the salary cap era, is the fact that the last team to win back to back Super Bowls was the Patriots in the dawn of the century. The Seahawks came close, but bad play call can really derail championship hopes, well, play call and preparation.
What we are seeing isn’t the arms build-up of a head coach’s twilight era; rather we are seeing the advantage of not throwing money around like a drunken sailor on payday, throughout the years. When a franchise pays an awful quarterback a king’s ransom, there isn’t just short term repercussions in the wins column. Financial consequences aren’t nearly as sexy as talking about performance and wins, but they carry effects that can last years after the player moves on. The Patriots do not make these mistakes. The Patriots are being rewarded for their financial management.
Overall, this amazing offseason is the result of the great long-term planning by the Patriots. When great team contracts and cap space coincide with a Super Bowl season, the Patriots cannot help but be a magnet for any player. Throw on top of that holding the best trade pieces, the top restricted free agent, and the top free agent the Patriots reaffirm the truth of the 5 P’s: Patriots’ Planning Prevents Poor Performance.