Why Willie McGinest Will Not Be a New England Patriot in 2009

Andrew CahillSenior Analyst IApril 2, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 23:  Linebacker Willie McGinest #55 of the New England Patriots celebrates victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2005 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Patriots defeated the Steelers 41-27 to advance to the Super Bowl. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

 Patriot Pat says-

Willie McGinest has hinted at the possibility of a return to the Patriots for a final year of his magnificent career.

While this is a nice thought, I personally do not see this happening.

The Patriots traded away a top-tier outside linebacker in Mike Vrabel last month with the intention of freeing up some cap space, as well as maybe a hint of clearing some bad air.

According to PatsCap.com, a site that expertly, though not officially, keeps track of the Patriots' salary-cap situation, they currently have approximately just under $4 Million in cap room.

While there is the potential of tweaking contracts to squeeze some more players under the cap, I don't see the Patriots able to sign a veteran linebacker at all if they intend on signing any rookies this year.

The rookie minimum salary was only $295,000 in 2008, and will be $310,000 in 2009. There is no way that they sign every rookie they draft this year at this price though.

The only economically sound way I see an option of moving a veteran like Willie into the Patriots roster is if that player were traded for another, and that is just not going to happen.

This especially applies to McGinest since he is a free agent anyway, and entering what is most likely his last year.

In order for him to sign as a free agent, he would have to take a serious pay-cut from the $1.9 Million he earned in 2008. Most likely he would have to be compensated close to the veteran league minimum.

Perhaps playing with the team he won three championships with will be his deciding factor, but in these times, I seriously doubt anybody would pass on a better deal than what the Patriots would be able to offer.

If he happens to not be signed on by another team, which is unlikely, he may be called into action by the Patriots late in the season. Just as Junior Seau was last year, and I expect the kind of role Rodney Harrison will play this year.

So what do you think, Patriots fans? Will this happen?


Andrew Cahill is a true Boston sports fan. Check out his website, "Patriot Pat's Patsies."