How far away is the Patriots' 4th Super Bowl ring?

How far away is the Patriots' 4th Super Bowl ring?
February 4, 2014, 12:15 am
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Like the rest of us, the Patriots watched the Super Bowl on television Sunday night.

Once again, they came up short in the AFC Championship Game - and it wasn't exactly close either.

But while that game may not have been close, just how close are they to getting back to the Super Bowl - and this time winning it?

According to the guys on Sports Tonight, they're still very close.

Lou Merloni, Mike Felger, Rob "Hardy" Poole, and Greg Bedard discussed.

"A lot is going to depend on what they do this offseason, but I would say largely they're not that far away," Bedard said. "They aren't. I think they have a good team. if they can get guys healthy. If [Rob Gronkowski] is back, and [Jerod] Mayo is back, and Vince [Wilfork] is back, and maybe they add some defensive interior help. I don't think they're that far away.

"I think what you saw last night - and you had me on radio row and I said Seattle wins this game easily - this was a mismatch on both sides of the ball. It was a bad matchup for denver. Part of the problem was they don't have the two tight end system the Patriots have. You need that to go against a power team like this. The Patriots have it. They've had some semblance of it. I think the Patriots would be a better matchup for Seattle. They wouldn't have been a matchup this year. But I think next year and the future? They can hang with those teams."

Poole agrees with Bedard that the Pats are still right there, and the offseason will be key in determining just how far they do go next season.

That gives Felger a chance to call out the Patriots for not going after the big-name guys.

"This goes to management now. Seattle thought they were a couple players short. What do they do: Clif Avril on defense, Percy Harvin on offense. And I know Percy Harvin only played a couple games, but he played in the one that mattered . . . They spent some money. They didn't shop at the Walmart bargain bin like the Patriots do. They shop for good players and they hit and they helped them win a championship.

Classic "cap is crap" Felger right there. But does he have a point? Not so fast, says Bedard.

"I'm going to stop you right there Felger, because you can't go down this road because the Seahawks have what the 49ers have - they have rookie quarterbacks, young quarterbacks who are making $530,00 dollars a year. Hooman (Michael Hoomanawanui) makes more than Russell Wilson makes. And when you have that you can go and add five edge rushers."

Felger then says that the Pats had an extra $5 million to spend under the cap this season, which would have allowed them to sign a key player and restructure another player's deal to make it work. Bedard doesn't exactly agree with it being that simple.

It's going to be an interesting offseason . . .