When free agency started, general manager Martin Mayhew was looking at 21 free agents on his own roster – including vital pieces like defensive end Cliff Avril, middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, left tackle Jeff Backus, cornerback Eric Wright and backup quarterback Shaun Hill – and a payroll that was $11 million over the cap.
Yet, in a 10-day span, he managed to create cap room without having to shed assets, retain the core players with the lone exception of Wright and add to the depth of some of the troubled positions.
And he did it in classic Mayhew style — patient and prudent. The moves were mostly understated, barely making a ripple in the free-agent pond. But they were essential to the continued growth of this football team.
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