What I'd like to see done
Mods, feel free to merge this w one of the other million offseason threads, but I thought I'd toss my 2 cents into the ring.
Ozzie once said something along the lines of, "I like going into the draft w/o needing to draft a guy to play right away."
Obviously, that's not always possible, but I think it's ideal. It allows you to take BPA, and it allows you to break guys into their roles on merit.
With that in mind this is what I'd like to see done:
1) Obviously, the first order of business is signing Flacco.
2) Then I'd cut Leach, and Birk if he doesn't retire. I love Leach, and I'd be open to bringing him back on the cheap, but he doesn't have much a role in where in this offense is headed. Birk's a great pro, and I wholly expect him to retire, but if he doesn't he ain't worth the scrill. His replacement is already on the roster; he's had a year to learn and prepare, and frankly, he looked alright in limited action this year. Furthermore, flanked by Yanda and KO, GG doesn't need to be a stud.
3) Then I'd extend Boldin for a year if possible; two if he demands it.
4) I say thanks for the memories to Kruger and Williams.
5) I think of our FAs Darnell is the most important to retain. And I'd make that a priority.
6) This might not be popular but I'd do what I could, and I think it'll happen, to retain Reed as well. I don't think he's going to cost big time money, and I think he's more than open to a "hometown discount." But I'd structure the contract so I could cut him after two years, if need be.
The next two things are dependent on money:
1) Resign McKinnie. All things equal I'd rather have him on the roster. That said, I wouldn't make much more of a financial commitment to him than we've made in the last two years. I don't trust him.
2) I'd like to keep Jacoby. I'd extend him if necessary but he makes a lot of money, and I think he's a luxury. I think we could replace him in the draft but I'd prefer not to.
So, if we did those things, including the last two I suggested, I think we would be under the cap, and I think we'd be in good shape going into the future cap-wise. I'm not going to break down the whole 53 but that leaves us w:
RB- Rice and Pierce
WR- Boldin, Smith, and Jones
TE- Pitta and Dickson
That offense can play tomorrow. If I can't sign McKinnie reasonably I stick Oher back at LT, and find a G or T in the draft. If I sign McKinnie then my tackle depth is on the roster w Oher, KO, and Jah, so I would take a developmental T in the draft, and sign a cheap vet for depth at G and C, in case GG can't cut it. We don't need any play makers.
DL- Ngata, Jones, Cody McPhee
OLB- Suggs, Upshaw
ILB- McLain, Darnell
CB- Webb, Graham, Smith, Brown
S- Pollard, Reed
And this is where I spend my draft picks, particularly up the middle. I want a NG, MLB, and S in the draft. And I'd try to weasel an edge rusher too. But, like I said, none of him have to be impact or even start in September. They can be worked in- if they earn it.
So in summation:
1) Try to go into the draft w as few holes as possible. Duh.
2) Focus on the middle of the defense in the draft. Duh. I wouldn't be opposed to trading out of RD 1 much as we did last year to gain another 3rd or 4th. And use my later picks to move around in those midrounds to target specific guys.
I don't think any of this is rocket science or unreasonable, and I fully expect Ozzie do to something very similar to this.