Hi and thanks for reading! This is my entry for what I think is the perfect offseason. Time for a overhaul of the roster. If I’m Idzik, I'm going through a 3 year plan to get us to a major playoff contender position so our window should be about 2-5 years from now depending on what happens with our guys. I also love competition, and as you will see, I make choices that reflect that. The other thing is that I love mismatches. The increased efficiency from one area bleeds into others and makes them more effective. A good pass rush makes even mediocre secondary players look good. Likewise, the aim of this is to make as dominant a team by taking our greatest strength and making it our game plan to make it unstoppable. At the same time, I understand our offensive woes and address it through the draft to have success long term. Last thing is that with the dramatic increases in salary cap, I do end up spending a lot of our cap and try to sign long term deals for a decent portion of the FAs due to the fact that 10 mil this year is equivalent to 9 mil the next and then 8.2 and so on.
The big 3 are fairly obvious cuts. If we cut them, we get massive returns to find new talent. Goodson is also on that list for his ACL and his run-ins with the law, saving a 1.5 mil by himself. With that said, we have a lot more room to work with. This leaves us with about 48 mil to work with as per overthecap.com.
OT Austin Howard 4 mil
You know him already, and we know he’s very solid. He has earned his slot on the team for a 3 year contract. We know with him on the line, our right side should be fairly solid. 4 mil escalating to 5 with 1.5 guaranteed each year.
OLB Brian Orakpo 10 mil
Probably one of the best FAs this year, Orakpo is very good at his job. He can do a decent bit of coverage, but his main strength is his pass rush. On the Redskins, he was often double teamed, which slowed him down significantly. With our monster front 3, it makes it impossible for them to double team everyone, which means we should see a big increase in everyone’s stat totals. With his speed and ability, he should pair very well with our strong and heavy front. 6 year contract slightly geared towards back end, escalating to 12 mil after the first 4 years with guaranteed money decreasing from 6 mil down to 5, to 2 and then again 2 mil, but nothing after that. While the contract seems excessive, we can cut him after the 4th year with no penalties or after 3 years for only 4 mil in dead money, so its effectively a 4 year contract with the option to pick up 2 more years.
CB Vontae Davis 9 mil
Eschewing an aging Cromartie for Vontae Davis, we get a major upgrade in the process. I think Davis could easily be worth 12 mil, but the massive amount of great CBs in the market this year depress his price. With this, we have a very competent Kyle Wilson manning the slot, and Milliner and Davis taking the outside CB slots. With this, I aim to make the duo the new Revis and Cro. We saw that Milliner is very good, so this should shut down opposing receivers no matter who they line up against. Also, love the storyline of a former Dolphin coming back to the division on a rival’s team. 9 escalating to 13 mil over 5 years with 4 mil guaranteed the first 4 and no guaranteed money the last.
WR Hakeem Nicks 5 mil
Okay, weird contract time. We give him a 4 year contract, but structure it differently. First year is guaranteed 4 mil, but after that, it becomes 8 mil per year for the last 3 years, with 3 mil guaranteed second year, 1 mil guaranteed third year, and nothing guaranteed the last year. This means, if he does poorly next season, we cut him and lose 4 mil in dead money. If he gets back to old form, we have him locked up for another 3 years and then he is close to 30 years old. Medium risk, high reward pickup. If he produces similar to the last 2 years, he’s at least a decent #3 option alongside our drafted WR and Kerley.
OG Willie Colon 3 mil
Had injury concerns that were met only after 16 games worth of work. I think we take the risk again and give him another shot at holding onto the job. With my plans for the offense, I think he could still be productive. Either way, I have competition for him so it’s no huge loss if he is injured. One year contract, nothing guaranteed.
QB Shaun Hill 3 mil
Experienced back up QB who is still able to be useful. He can help push Geno a bit and teach him from experience. I think he is actually better than Josh McCown, and I don’t want to pay for Vick to be an expensive back up since I think the Vikings or the Jaguars pick him up with intent for him to really compete as a starter. 3 year contract, 1 mil guaranteed.
OLB Calvin Pace 1 mil
Earned his way back onto the team for a little more than vet min. I don’t have plans for him to start, but be more of a rotational player. Despite the sentiment that he is just lucky, in a depth role he can be very good, not to mention being a good mentor for our LBs. One year contract, nothing guaranteed.
OT Roger Saffold 2 mil
Has the versatility to play guard or tackle, but has a propensity for getting injured. One year deal like Colon as very valuable depth and good competition to start somewhere on the line, especially if someone struggles or is injured. One year contract, nothing guaranteed.
DT Leger Douzable 1.5 mil
Awesome depth guy who can help out with our rotations. I’m not going to spoil it, but he will see an increased role next year and probably several years to come. He will be signed to a 3 year contract that increases from 1.5 to 4 mil with 1 mil guaranteed each year.
ST/CB Ellis Lankster 0.5 mil
Good special teams player who is a very competent gunner and knows Rex’s system. Keep him on a 2 year contract and hopefully by then, we have drafted someone who can do his job better. Small amount guaranteed.
Total: 39 mil spent
4 mil for in season acquisitions/replacements and filling out the roster or carrying over to next year
Note: if this was in the years before the flexible cap, I would have saved more. Because of how much the cap increases, it no longer makes sense to not spend the bulk of the cap. In addition, most of the important FAs i signed are around 26-27 years old, and should be productive for the life of their contract (until about 30-31).
Quinton Coples and 1st for Atlanta’s 1st
Okay, since the premise of the mock offseason standardized our trades and player trade value, I took our friend Coples and pawned him for a higher pick in the draft. I think we can do better than Coples anyway, so I saw this as a way for us to get the play maker we need and realistically help Atlanta with Coples going back to playing his natural position instead of trying to be a mediocre OLB. I am also uncertain whether the Coples experiment will ever quite pan out, and its important to remember that sunk cost doesn't affect future value, so just because he was a first round pick doesnt mean that a 2nd might be generous for his value.
6th and 7th for Colt’s 5th
Colts want more depth, and we are looking at a specific difference maker on the board. This allows us to get an instant impact guy on special teams and bolstering a position of need.
2nd for Bronco’s 2nd and 3rd
The way I have the board falling, Broncos are looking at a LB to bolster their defense and trade up to take a falling Van Noy. We get some picks in what I think is the sweet spot of the draft and keep moving.
Damon Harrison for Houston’s 4th
I’m sure some of you hate this, and I admit I love having the guy around, but it’s important to remember this is a business. When you have incredible depth at a certain position, you take what you can trade and you bolster other areas. While I love the guy, I’m fairly confident that Kenrick Ellis is ready to step in and do a very good job as well (he was also supposed to be the starter during camp, but got injured). Also, we tend to forget that sometimes players are one time producers, like Miles Austin, and never reach that level of production again.
Draft Picks Summary after trades
1,2,3,3,3,4,4,5,5 (plus 6th and 7th round compensatory picks)
Note (again): I set aside 6 million to sign our rookies as that is the average required to sign them that would count against the cap.
1 Sammy Watkins WR
This is the guy we gave up Coples and our first for. We get the only WR I’m confident can play at a high level for a long time to come. He is ready to come in and be a difference maker right now, and I think we have a Probowl caliber receiver in him, otherwise I wouldn’t trade for him like that. He can be a cornerstone of our offense for years to come with a little luck.
2 Xavier Sua Filo OG
Love this guy as a guard. I think that he is probably the 3rd guard off the board, so he will be around at a late second. I think he is pro ready and can come in and start right off the bat, pushing Winters into the depth role while he learns. With this, we have a great fall back option for our offensive line and a good start to a rebuild.
3 Jimmy Ward FS
I think everyone has written on him enough to know Jimmy is excellent, but underrated. I looked around before I was able to place him here. Other people think he is worth a late second/early third and this represents a good need pick as a starting FS so Antonio Allen can work in his more natural SS role.
3 Troy Niklas TE
With the depth of TEs in this draft and a relatively unimpressive showing in the combine, we get probably the second best in line TE this draft. Troy is massive and a mauler in terms of run blocking, although his technique is unrefined, which comes with him starting at TE for only 2 years. If we can get his hands more consistent and work on his routes a bit, we could have great starting traditional TE. It is important to note that his speed means he probably will never be a Jimmy Graham, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.
3 Bishop Sankey RB
Awesome RB and a guy who can be a good compliment to Chris Ivory and take some carries. His vision is probably his best trait and he can help catch some too, making him a good 3rd down RB. His track record suggests that he will be able to handle the load if Ivory does get injured. With this pick up, we increase the diversity of the sets and personnel we can run with.
4 Telvin Smith (Adrian Hubbard) OLB
Ok, this one might be a bit of a stretch. On my board, I have Telvin ranked a bit lower than some of my peers, hence why I put another guy I liked on this as well. Telvin has the speed and size we need in a LB (not to mention an awesome motor and instinct for the ball, and with Rex, we can grow him into a starting role. Just like the Seahawks draft DBs late to develop them, we should be doing the same thing with the front 7 and letting Rex do his thing. In the case that you think there is no way Telvin would be available there, I also have Adrian Hubbard, a bigger, but slower LB who is a little more raw as well, and in terms of draft position, also ranked about where our pick is. Also, this is the pick we got for Big Snacks, just as an FYI.
4 Seantrel Henderson OT
Probably a 1st or 2nd round type of talent that fell down the board due to his issues off the field. I think with a little bit of work and our hopefully clean locker room, we can keep him clean and groom him into a starting role somewhere on the line down the road. In my opinion, he is probably a somewhat low risk, high reward type of pick.
5 Dri Archer ST/RB/WR
Everyone has heard his name hyped, but too may people seem to over estimate his ability to be productive in an offense in my opinion. Especially for his 1st and maybe 2nd year, he will not be the compliment to Ivory some have proclaimed. Instead, I take him at his value as a ST player as a dedicated KR/PR and gunner. He can add that punch to the return game at a much younger age than some FAs floating about.
5 Pat O’Donnell P/Beast
Since we are going forward with Nick Folk as our starting kicker, we could use someone who would be an immediate upgrade on kick offs and punts. The thing I like best with him is that he is a real athlete. With him, special teams is no longer a 10 on 11 as he is very capable in being a last line of defense. With him, we get a nice rebalancing of a perceived mismatch and that small advantage can help ensure teams have a harder time gaining an edge on special teams.
After this, we come out prepared to take on the division with a revamped roster. Our O-line has enough competition and depth to ensure it’s ability to run smoothly: even if we lose Colon and Saffold, we still have an improved Winters and Sua Filo to fall back on unless they win the starting job outright. Our WR corps gets a real 1-2 punch with Watkins and a competent Hakeem Nicks, or with luck, a Nicks renaissance where he returns to 2011 form. Our defense goes from good with a single bright spot, to fantastic with pass rushers and ability up the wazoo and young building blocks to cement us for the next 5 years at least. We get a compliment to Chris Ivory and a real veteran behind Geno. Our CBs become top of the league again with a duo that can shut down almost anybody. All of the FAs we sign can be cut after a year or two without too much pain, or for nothing after 3-4 years. If we have problems after this year with QB, we can make a trade to take a QB next year when there are better prospects than Manziel and Bortles. Even after all the FA spending, we still come out with 4 million to make fill out the roster and sign guys if we get hit with the injury bug. As for next year, I would look for a replacement for Brick or trade him if we can get a good LT. It would also be time to re-sign Wilkshake and while he would command a large salary, I have made our team malleable enough to move around and cut when we need to so we can keep who we want without sacrificing the future. Thanks for reading!