Would the Patriots re-sign Matt Light and cut Nick Kaczur?
Would they retain Kaczur and let Matt Light walk?
Will the Pats keep both? Let both walk?
To me the question about how productive Matt Light and Nick Kaczur could be this year, and how they improve the 2010 team may be too finely focused.
Of course an offensive line corps that includes those two is better than one that looks over its collective shoulder at Mark LeVoir, Steve Manieri and Quinn Ojinnaka as potential starters if or when a tackle will be sidelined. In addition Nate Solder (just like any rookie) would be better served with more time and coaching before being thrust into the starting lineup.
The thing is the Patriots are not doing business in a world with unlimited budgets, no thought or concern of what the salary cap will be when it returns, and how those decisions impact the ability to sign other players – not just at other positions, but at this one as well. It also does not take into account ramifications on the roster for 2012 and beyond.
In my opinion other teams will rightfully value both of these players more than the Patriots do. This has nothing to do with the Pats and some other team being right or wrong with their analysis of these players; it has to do with how important those two are to this team or another team.
For example the Patriots may see the contract requests of either one not worth it to them and that would be an accurate assessment given the consideration of what other players they have under contract on their offensive line and who they can expect to be on their roster for the next few years.
Another team – say the Pittsburgh Steelers, for example – might look at one of those two and think ‘this will really help out our offensive line’, making that very same contract request a much better value for their team.
If that were to come about then it does not make the Steelers smart and Patriots bad, or visa versa. More likely it would simply mean that Light or Kaczur at this point in time is a better fit and value on that team rather than this team.
I can see the Patriots perhaps making a choice to retain one or the other of Light and Kaczur, but I would think that it would be difficult for the team to allocate both funds as well as roster spots to both of them. Kaczur gives the team a bit more flexibility since he could play as many as three or four offensive line positions, while Light seems to be bound to just one, left tackle. On the other hand Light would appear to be a more likely starter at a more vital position.
Then there are those contracts. Kaczur is already under contract, meaning no additional signing bonus. Light on the other hand would be looking for some sort of reasonable guarantee, even if the Pats only plan on keeping him for one year.
Which one of the two ends up on the Pats roster in September may come down to factors that go far beyond their athletic talents. Injuries to other players, contract negotiations, the CBA and the salary cap will have as much to do with their professional future with the New England Patriots as their ability to block an opposing defensive lineman. If the lockout persists then seasoned veterans become more valuable than they have been in previous years, while rookies without the benefit of minicamps and coaching become more of a non-factor until 2012.
My guess is Matt Light is re-signed and Nick Kaczur is let go – but I wouldn’t put any money on either move just yet.
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