By building depth and emphasizing a strong middle class over a few flashy headliners, the Patriots have minimized their risk and allowed superior coaching and quarterback play to carry them to perennially excellent regular-season records and legitimate Super Bowl opportunities.
Constructing such a roster in 2014 might be a bit harder, considering that they rank 20th in the league with roughly $12.7 million in free cap space. Thus, New England faces more difficult choices in whether they should keep veterans with big cap numbers and re-sign free agents set to cash in.
One thing to keep in mind is that the team is not necessarily in poor shape. The $130 million salary cap for 2014 came in higher than expected, and per Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, the cap numbers could grow as high as $160 million by 2016.
Thus, the Patriots and the rest of the NFL have a bit more margin for error. Nevertheless, possessing flexibility is absolutely vital when making personnel decisions, and New England could stand to improve in that regard.
Not all of these suggestions will directly make the Patriots a better team. But they won't make the team considerably worse, and more importantly, they provide the front office with an opportunity to once again build a low-variability roster that should establish New England as a prime championship contender.