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The Patriots are Reportedly Going Hard in the Paint After Calvin Ridley and Four Chargers Superstars

Stacy Revere. Getty Images.

Like I said first thing this morning, if Eliot Wolf intends to come in here, take over for the man who won my loyalty and affection six Super Bowls ago, the first thing he can do is buy my affection with nice things. 

And while we still haven't seen any results, it at least appears as though he's adopting the Rich Stepdad approach. He's going after exactly the kind of expensive, shiny things we're not used to getting this time of year. The Wolf is out hunting superstars:

A quick note about Calvin Ridley. Like Schefter said and others have confirmed, he's got no desire to leave Jacksonville. And Trevor Lawrence is on record as saying he doesn't want him to leave:

But as we've witnessed a hundred times over the years, it's not always about what your teammates and your organization want. It's not about loyalty. It's about business. It comes down to that Do Re Mi. It's not as if Jacksonville is the place you take a hometown discount to or stick around there to chase rings. Ridley is 29. He's coming off a 76-catch, 1,000 yard, 8 TD season. He's not going to get too many more bites at this financial apple. Besides, the Patriots currently have the most available money to spend at around $80 million, while the Jaguars have the ninth least, with less than $5.5 million. Which won't even cover half of Ridley's signing bonus. 

Another wrinkle is that it's in Jacksonville's best interest to wait to get a deal done. Because if Ridley accepts their offer now, they owe Atlanta a 2nd round pick. If they can hold on until Wednesday, so after the start of the new league year, it counts as them signing him as a free agent, so the compensation drops to a 3rd rounder. Giving Wolf a day or so to full Million Dollar Man on Ridley:

Giphy Images.

But by no means is he putting all his golden eggs in the Ridley basket. One of the few teams in direr straits than the Jags is the Chargers. According to Over the Cap, they're not only … well, over the cap, they are by an order of magnitude. $25.974 million, to be precise, which is roughly five times higher than where No. 2 Kansas City is at. Obviously with a lot less return on all that investment. Making LAC the most motivated of sellers:

Source - The Patriots have checked in with the Chargers on obvious trade/cut candidates during this week’s open negotiating period, sources told the Herald. …

Their most obvious trade/cut candidates are wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen and edge defenders Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. …

Williams is due a $17 million salary and has a $3 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2024 league year. Allen is due an $18.1 million salary and has a $5 million roster bonus due March 17. Mack is due a $17.55 million salary and has a $5.5 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2024 league year. Bosa is due a $17 million salary and has a $7 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2024 league year. 

Williams will be 30 in October and missed most of the 2023 season with a torn ACL. He has two 1,000-yard seasons to his name, however, and caught 63 passes for 895 yards with four touchdowns in 13 games in 2022. He caught 19 passes for 249 yards with one touchdown before his injury last season.

Allen will be 32 in April and is coming off of a 108-catch, 1,243-yard season with seven touchdowns in just 13 games. The six-time Pro Bowl selection has spent his entire 11-year career with the Chargers and has been a 1,000-yard receiver six times.

Mack had 17 sacks last season with the Chargers. The 33-year-old pass rusher has also spent time with the Raiders and Bears and has 101.5 career sacks in 10 seasons with eight Pro Bowl nods.

Bosa, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, has spent his entire eight-year career with the Chargers. He has 67 career sacks but has played just 14 games over the last two seasons and will be 29 in July. 

Obviously each of these choices has played at a high level, but comes with concerns over age, injuries, or both. Yet any of them would be a significant upgrade over what we've had. And thanks to the Chargers' fiscal irresponsibility, the Pats find themselves in a position where they can do the right thing. 

Which is take full advantage of their desperation. 

That's the American Way. It's what makes Capitalism, for all its faults, the best system ever devised by humankind. We kept our house in order. Lived within our means. Saved up for a rainy day. While you spent yourselves into financial ruin. So let's make a deal. How's 50 cents on the dollar sound to you? Like Mr. Potter buying up all the shares in the Building & Loan when the stock market crashed. Or as Gordon Gekko put it when he was asked why he bought a company just to wreck it, "Because it was wreckable!" 

Obviously I'm not spiking the football on Ridley or any of these Chargers players. Not until one or more of them signs on the line which is dotted. And even then I reserve the right to change my mind if these guys cost too much in trade capital, which is in short supply in New England. For now, I'm just taking the approach of cautious optimism. It seems like Wolf is going after top notch talent at two positions where we can use it. Especially wideout, where there is a desperate and immediate need. Now let's sit and wait and hope the Wolf catches his prey.