Don't know how many NFL fans there are here, but here goes...
For 6 years Belichick has made these heartless decisions (and I say heartless as a compliment). Every offseason the Pats lose at least one big name; Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Ted Washington, etc. They seem to be able to get solid replacements and good talent throughout their lineup more often than not.
Despite the track record of success, I heard a lot of Pats fans sound like they're about to jump off the ledge last week. While the losses of Vinateri, McGinnest and Givens surely hurt, I think people are being a little nostalgic-something that is against the Patriots credo.
If anything, the loss of Givens hurts the most, because of his age. The loss people seem most upset about is that of a kicker. A Hall of Fame kicker for sure, but a kicker. They'll get a replacement. McGinnest was a talented pass rusher and a leader in the locker room. But he was 34...old for a linebacker. Vinateri was beloved for his super bowl kicks, but a bit overrated because of them, too.
Givens is a big loss, but the Patriots weren't about to give him No 1 receiver money. They have to think about next offseason, and pending free agents Deion Branch and Richard Seymour.
They have a lot of holes now, but they have $20M to spend and I believe they can field a contender again. Thanks to these heartless decisions, they should be able to do it without hurting their prospects down the road, too.
It's not lost on me that Belichick was an economics major...perfect schooling for the era of the salary cap.