According to the numbers, the Patriots don't need to pay big bucks
According to ESPN's John Clayton (and then written about by Mike Reiss), the Patriots were 8th in the league with regards to teams' payroll for the 2012 season. Also, Clayton was wise to point out that out of the 7 teams with higher payrolls than the Pats, NONE of them made it to the playoffs. He then passionately wrote of how a high payroll doesn't necessarily guarantee playoff-level results. Here's a piece:
"Spending might work in baseball, but it doesn't guarantee anything in football because of the salary cap," Clayton writes. "Going crazy in free agency ... doesn't translate into success."
Mike Reiss then analyzed some of Clayton's results for the Patriots. According to them, the Patriots' team salary was $138.3 million, placing them 8th in the league. However, the Patriots were among league leaders in "dead money" with $7.3 according to Reiss and Clayton. Reiss defines this term as money that's devoted to players that were not on the team's roster as they were projected; his examples included Visanthe Shancoe and Jonathan Fanene.
So this brings us to my point, do the Patriots really need to break the bank? According to these results, the answer is easily 'NO'. However, there are issues that the Patriots need to address. If these needs are fulfilled, maybe the Pats can finally get over the hump and win the Super Bowl. Think of this too; the Ravens just won the Super Bowl with a lower payroll than the Pats... BUT they are projected to be WAY over the limit this year.
There are plenty of numbers and factors that go into building a team. As Clayton stated, you cannot just buy a good team; all the pieces must fall into the right place. Patriots VP of Player Personnel Nick Caserio and coach Bill Belichick have plenty of planning to do in the coming months. I'll leave you with a quote from the man who used to have Caserio's job, Scott Pioli, who won three Super Bowls with the Pats. I find this to be very fitting:
"Any team can win a Super Bowl in March, but the key is building a team to win it in late January and early February."