You know it has been a tremendously rough offseason when two of your team's five most important players (Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez) depart, and a third (Rob Gronkowski) is in danger of kicking off the season on the PUP.
Even in the salary cap era, that kind of roster turnover is a tough pill to swallow for a team with Super Bowl hopes.
Still, if there's a team that understands the importance of building a team from the ground up—with an emphasis on depth over top-heaviness—it's the Pats, who always seem to be ready with the next man up, be it Eugene Wilson in 2003 or Shane Vereen in the divisional round last year.
So Pats fans can be confident that Bill Belichick and the coaching staff will put their new batch of "most important players" in the best position to succeed.
Let's take a look at five players the Pats will need to have big seasons in 2013 if they hope to take another shot at the Super Bowl.
On a whim, I've decided to keep Rob Gronkowski off this list and only include players who are healthy enough to play right now.