ROUNDTABLE: TO, Cutler, Peppers...

The PI crew debate the merits of TO in Buffalo, the Cutler vs Cassel deal, Pat White and more...

1) After seeing what the Broncos got for Jay Cutler, how does that affect your opinion of the Matt Cassel trade to Kansas City?

Shane Leketa: It really does not change my opinion on the entire Cassel situation. The Patriots simply could not afford to keep two double digit million dollar quarterbacks on the payroll so, from a financial standpoint, this team needed to make a move and if another big transaction goes down with the draft picks received for Cassel, our opinions may be different in a few weeks.

Jim Poore: I really don't think it affects anything. Cutler is the much better quarterback, and Chicago was in a desperation mode. The Patriots got what they thought was a fair deal for Cassell, and likewise for the Broncos. It will be interesting to see which team fares better in the division, though clearly Denver has the advantage right now.

Lóvell Parkman: The Patriots were not going to get the third pick in the draft for Cassel. I felt that since Vrabel was included that they should have at received a fourth round draft pick.

Kevin Saleeba: My opinion remains the same. Tom Brady is back and they needed to deal away Cassel. The Broncos got Kyle Orton in the deal. No thank you. I'll take the second round draft pick from KC.

Jon Scott: New England made a deal with the only team they knew they could rely on. Certainly looking back at it, the Patriots gave up too much too quickly, but they were close to the cap and they needed to move Mike Vrabel before his roster bonus came due that weekend. Chalk it up to less experienced front offices in Denver and Tampa Bay not having their ducks lined up. Or, chalk it up to the Patriots putting themselves in a bindagainst the cap for not redoing Wilfork, Seymour or other contracts before they got into a bind from the

 

2) What do you think of the Patriots interest in WVU quarterback Pat White?

Pat White, QB or WR?

Shane Leketa: I have to tell you, I think this is more of a formality than anything else, I think this team likes the backup in O'Connell that they currently have. I think Pat White is sitting pretty high on a few other teams radar so, if they are looking at him, they are looking to see if he slips to a much lower pick in the draft.

Jim Poore: I think the interest is genuine. White is one of those quarterbacks that might not be a very good pro, but could easily adapt to other positions to help where needed. There have been many instances where a player is drafted to play another position. Sometimes the knowledge of the game, instincts and athletic ability is how some of these players get drafted.

Lóvell Parkman: I think that they envision using him as multipurpose threat offensively. If he is on the field defenses would have to react to him thereby opening up the possibilities for big plays for the Patriot offense even if he is a decoy.

Kevin Saleeba: He's merely going to be another QB prospect. As long as Brady is around, expect the Pats to keep developing QB's to be traded for draft picks.

Jon Scott: White is an interesting prospect who wants to play quarterback at the next level. He could add a wrinkle to any offense he joins, but not as a pure pocket passer. He's mobile; he has amazing athletic ability and would most certainly play multiple positions at the next level. With Tom Brady returning for any number of years, White has a limited future at QB in New England. They might take a chance on him, but he'd have to be willing got commit to another position, something I think he's reluctant to do.

3) What do you think the Patriots top 3 needs are

Shane Leketa: Well, this question has tons of layers and moving parts. I think their number one area of concern has to be at the linebacker position. With Jerod Mayo standing out last year, this is a move in the right direction but, with the departure of Mike Vrabel, the age and diminishing speed of Tedy Bruschi, and the question of Adalius Thomas's health, this position is an area of utmost concern. This defense cannot rely on old-timers like Seau and Colvin to fill in the blanks. The second two areas have to be secondary and offensive line.

Jim Poore: I think running back and defensive back are the two biggest needs right now, and then perhaps linebacker. They did address the defensive backs by signing Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden, but it remains to be seen if they work out. Both are past their prime but can likely help. They really need a running back. Laurence Maroney flat out stinks, and though Fred Taylor was a nice pick up, he is no longer an every down back. When Maroney gets hurt ( note I said when he gets hurt not if ) the Patriots could be in trouble here.

Lóvell Parkman: Linebackers (inside and outside) Safety, Cornerback. (Bonus: Offensive line)

Kevin Saleeba: The need cornerbacks, linebackers and defensive linemen. Exactly what they needed the last couple years. It's just becoming more urgent each year.

Jon Scott: Taking an objective look at the roster, the team needs to build for the future on the offensive line, defensive line and in the secondary. High priced veterans hold the starting roles in a number of positions but just how long they'll be there remains to be seen. There are holes everywhere, but the team has a chance to set the roster of the future now. A top offensive tackle or guard to go with a young stud defensive linemen will ensure the team has options as Matt Light, Stephen Neal and Richard Seymour wind down their careers. A starting cornerback or safety will help fortify a secondary that has had to deal with age, injuries and/or lack of talent.

Taylor has been a Brady nightmare

4) Assuming the Patriots have the cap room, but the compensation will vary, Jason Taylor for straight cash or Julius Peppers for picks and MORE cash ?

Shane Leketa: Well, I think either or are going to be positive additions to this team due to the fact of raw talent alone. But if I were to choose one, I would have to go with Peppers simply because of the upside and youth that he brings to the table. He would fit in the scheme of this system and he is looking to land with a successful franchise. I know, Taylor would be the lesser of two evils but, this is an area we need to address and I think this is a good dilemma to be a part of.

Jim Poore: Peppers is clearly the better player, but it remains to be seen if he can play in the Patriots' system. It also likely won't work because of salary cap implications. If there was nothing to stop the trade, than clearly Peppers is the man. I think Taylor though would be a nice pick up, and obviously much cheaper. I have a feeling though the Patriots might not have any money left because Taylor has been available for some time with no movement by the Patriots.

Lóvell Parkman: If it is for a second round pick that they received from Kansas City and if they can fit him under the cap and not upset their salary structure and team chemistry I would say Peppers. Big, quick, athletic and is a monster at getting to the QB. Taylor had injury issues last year and is nearing the end of his career. While he can still play he is older, does he have the desire and is last year injuries an indication that his body may not allow him to play in all 16 games?

Kevin Saleeba: I've always been a huge fan of Jason Taylor. He's guy that can't disrupt an entire passing game with his pass rushing skills. Plus if you can save the draft picks, it's better to give up the cash.

Jon Scott: Peppers could be the player to help the Patriots much maligned pass rush, but he will need to change positions to OLB and that experiment may not go as well as planned. Taylor would be a better fit for the short term as the team works on building their young group of linebackers. Adding Taylor won't hamstring the team's cap situation and would solve the immediate need to put an experienced pass rusher on the field.

5) Terrell Owens (T.O.) in Buffalo: Aa Disaster waiting to happen, or an uh oh they're going to be good now?

Shane Leketa: Originally, when TO landed in Dallas, I predicted that this was going to be a match made in heaven, and I was gloating because at first, it was and all was well, then TO turned on the Jekyll and Hyde mask and turned crazy .. yet again. So, I will predict the same in Buffalo. This will be a great match made in heaven at first playing across from Lee Evans. This team will flow well and they are going to be tough but the simple question is, How long is it going to last this time TO?

Jim Poore: Terrell Owens in Buffalo isn't going to make a difference for one main reason: Buffalo has terrible quarterbacks. If he was always complaining that QB's like Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo couldn't get him the ball, what is he going to be saying in Buffalo? I didn't understand this signing from the very beginning. I think Owens signed there because he would not have gotten any other offers. Buffalo is going to be in the cellar in the AFC East again this year, but this time Owens is going to be heard louder than ever.

Lóvell Parkman: They are improved with TO. With all of his on shenanigans he can still play. Usually in his first year with a new team TO is pretty much under control and doesn't cause a lot of problems. It will be interesting to see TO the player who has dropped a lot of passes last year in Dallas how the cold climate of Buffalo will show an improvement in his dropped passes.

Kevin Saleeba: T.O. has left a wake of disaster everywhere he has played. What makes Buffalo any different?

Jon Scott: It's only a matter of time with T.O. He has skill, as any Patriots fan that watched the Pats- Eagles Super Bowl well knows. But what happened with T.O. in his last three stops is almost certain to rear its ugly head again in Buffalo. A young quarterback, troubles on the offensive line and tough division are a near recipe for disaster. There's a reason the reports that there were less than a handful of teams willing to sign T.O in the off-season. He has a chance to dispel the negativity about him, but that really depends upon how well he handles the rough parts of the season. I don't believe he's a game changer for Buffalo in the same way Randy Moss has become one in New England.

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